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Hungary Table of Contents


Central Institutions

Central party institutions made decisions binding on the party as a whole. In addition, they made policy for every aspect of the country's domestic and foreign policies. Hungary's central party institutions, like those of other Marxist-Leninist parties of Eastern Europe, were modeled on those of the CPSU.

Party Congress

According to the Party Rules, the congress was the "highest organ of the HSWP." The congress had the following powers: it debated reports of the Central Committee and the Central Control Committee, approved the Party Rules, elected the Central Control Committee and the Central Committee, determined the general guidelines of party policy, and determined the most immediate and important tasks of socialist construction. The Central Committee convened a party congress once every five years.

In fact, the party congress usually legitimated policies decided upon elsewhere. The Politburo gave its prior approval to officials elected by the party congress. The congress merely ratified solutions to political, social, and economic problems that had been developed by the Secretariat and approved by the Politburo. Thus, party congresses had mainly a propagandistic character.

The agendas of all party congresses in the postwar period have been similar. The general secretary reads the report of the Central Committee. Debates and approval of the report follow. Speeches are read by leaders of foreign communist party delegations, with the representative of the CPSU going first. The congress also adopts reports of other party organs as well as a party program. Finally, the congress "elects" the Central Committee, the Secretariat, and the Central Control Committee.

The Thirteenth Party Congress, held March 25-29, 1985, made no important changes in HSWP policies, continuing the general policy line of the 1960s and 1970s. In contrast to earlier party congresses, however, greater degrees of candor and open criticism characterized the Thirteenth Party Congress. Social problems discussed included the declining birth rate, the poor quality of health services, and the inequalities created by economic reform.

The Thirteenth Party Congress had 935 delegates, or about 1 for every 1,000 party members. The social composition of the delegates mirrored the social composition of the party as a whole (see Social Composition of the Party , this ch.). Workers and peasants made up approximately 30 percent of the delegates. Functionaries in party and social organizations made up 23.1 percent of the delegates, leading executives and administrators 24.9 percent, and employees 8.4 percent. Women comprised about 27 percent of the delegates.

The Central Committee also had the power to convene a party conference at any time during the interval between congresses. The party held its first conference in May 1945 and its second in June 1957. In May 1988, the HSWP leadership convened the Third Party Conference.

The Third Party Conference had 1 delegate for every 1,000 party members, or a total of 859 delegates. In addition, the 106 Central Committee members and 25 members of the Central Control Committee also had the right to vote. The conference had powers similar to a party congress. It approved new directions in economic and social policy, and it ratified important personnel changes in the leadership. Grosz succeeded Kadar as general secretary, and the conference created for Kadar the new, largely honorific position of chairman of the party. In addition, liberal reformers Rezs÷ Nyers and Imre Pozsgay became Politburo members.

Data as of September 1989