Hungary's Communist Party to Divest Itself of Some Assets
Sep. 07, 1989
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) _ The Communist Party will turn over millions of dollars to the government and open its books for inspection as it prepares to share power, the state newspaper said today.
Imre Pozsgay, a reformist member of the four-man Communist leadership, made the pledge Wednesday to opposition groups discussing the political shape of Hungary as the country gears up for free elections next year, the paper said.
The talks, focusing on preparations for the first free elections since the 1948 Communist takeover, frequently have been bogged down.
But the newspaper, Magyar Hirlap, reported some progress after the Wednesday session agreed to increase the number of seats in Parliament from 350 to 374. Other issues remained in dispute, it said.
MTI, the state news agency, said Pozsgay was defeated in an election Wednesday of delegates to the Oct. 6 Communist Party congress where reformists are expected to battle orthodox Marxists over the Communist Party's future.
He will have a vote at the session anyway because he is a member of the 113-member Communist Party Central Committee, but his defeat was seen as a victory for those in the party who oppose the rapid pace of reforms.
Leading Communist reformist Zoltan Szabo told reporters the Communist Party's ''oligarchy is becoming active, now that they have realized that they may be in danger of losing control of the party.''
The Communist leadership decided in February to permit multiparty elections by June 1990. The decision was part of the political, social and economic reforms that have kept Hungary in the forefront of change within the Soviet bloc, creating concern among leaders of more hard-line Warsaw Pact countries.
At the talks, opposition leaders continue to urge that only registered parties be allowed to nominate candidates, Magyar Hirlap said. The Communist Party, which still exercises some control over broad-based organizations such as the Patriotic People's Front, wants them to propose candidates as well.
Opposition spokesmen have made the finances and property of Hungary's Communist Party an issue, claiming the party seized many things illegally when it took power. Pozsgay's announcement appears calculated to defuse controversy.
The paper quoted him as saying the party will hand over $35 million to the increasingly independent-minded government to finance the emerging multiparty system and that party books will be opened after the elections.