Magyars love to gamble. After Communist austerity shuttered Budapest's gambling joints, the boys in Szabadsag Ter (Liberty Square) offered outdoor odds of four to one against President Zoltan Til-dy's chances of surviving his precarious alliance with the Communists. Fourteen months ago, when he weathered the storm that whisked ex-Premier Ferenc Nagy into exile, 3,000,000 forints (about $250,000) in bets changed hands. The boys on Szabadsag Ter should have waited.

Last week, the special brand of Communist oblivion reserved for those no longer useful caught up with Tildy. His son-in-law, pudgy Victor Chornoky, recent minister to Egypt, was arrested on charges of...

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