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Central Committee Meets on Personnel Changes

June 23, 1987

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) _ The Communist Party’s Central Committee held a one-day meeting Tuesday that party sources said considered personnel changes and potential successors to veteran leader Janos Kadar.

MTI, the state-run news agency, said only that the 100-member policy-making committee ″adopted decisions on organizational and personnel questions and adopted recommendations on filling state posts.″

Personnel changes are never announced in advance and usually are made public in an official communique days after the decisions are reached.

There have been reports of growing pressure within the party for a leadership change.

Hungary is in an economic slump, and the party sources, speaking with the condition they not be identified, said sentiment within the party is turning against the 75-year-old Kadar.

The sources said Kadar was not likely to retire quickly, but probable candidates for his post as the party’s general secretary could be given more important positions, in anticipation of a leadership change.

According to the sources, Karoly Grosz, a Politburo member and Budapest party leader, could be moved up at the expense of his major rival, Janos Berecz, Central Committee secretary in charge of ideology.

Kadar was initially repressive after taking over when Soviet troops entered Hungary in 1956 to crush an anti-Soviet revolt. But he later moved away from tight control and allowed limited dissent by the 1970s.

He introduced economic reforms in the early 1960s that included a major decentralization of state industries, giving managers more autonomy and creating a small but dynamic private sector.

The measures gave Hungary relative prosperity before the economy began to sour in the late 1970s. Economists now say the government failed to maintain the momentum and needs structural revamping with emphasis on new technologies.

The party sources, who have been reliable in the past, said that at the Central Committee meeting there were increasing calls for further political liberalization.

They said Berecz might lose his ideology post to Imre Pozsgay, the head of the Patriotic People’s Front.

Pozsgay has expressed support of some form of legal political opposition to the Communist Party.

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