Hungary End of an Era?

Kadar's future is on the line

Suspense is a rare commodity in the politics of Communist Eastern Europe, but last week Hungary provided a genuine cliff-hanger. When 986 participants at the country's first national party conference in 31 years gathered in Budapest's trade-union meeting hall, word went out that the official agenda, bearing the imprimatur of Party Leader Janos Kadar, had been quietly shelved. As the conference began, the key question was whether Kadar, 75, might also be shelved. In his opening speech, Kadar himself acknowledged the need to "rejuvenate" the party leadership.

The strongest challenge to Kadar's rule appeared to come from ambitious and pragmatic Prime...

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