A republic in central Europe; Also called: Magyarorszag.
Country in central Europe, bounded N by the Slovak Republic, NE by Ukraine, E by Romania, S by Yugoslavia and Croatia, and W by Austria and Slovenia.
Under the terms of the “transitional constitution” adopted Oct 1989, Hungary is a unitary state with a one-chamber, 386-member legislature, the national assembly (Orszaggyules). Its members are elected for five-year terms under a mixed system of proportional and direct representation: 176 are directly elected (on a potential two-ballot run-off basis) from local constituencies; 152 are from county and metropolitan lists on a proportional basis; and 58 are elected indirectly from party-nominated national “compensation” lists designed to favor smaller parties. Free competition is allowed in these elections. The national assembly elects a president to serve as head of state and chief executive, and a council of ministers (cabinet) headed by a prime minister. Since 1989 opposition parties have been able to register freely and receive partial state funding. A constitutional court has also been appointed to serve as a watchdog.
Inhabited by Celts and Slavs, the region became a Roman province. After the Roman era it was overrun at the end of the 4th century AD by Germanic invaders and by Asians who established a Magyar kingdom in the late 9th century, under a chief named Árpád. St Stephen (ruled 997–1038) was Hungary's first king; he established a kingdom 1001 and converted the inhabitants to Christianity. After the Árpádian line died out, Hungary was ruled 1308–86 by the Angevins, and subsequently by other foreign princes.
From 1396, successive rulers fought to keep out Turkish invaders but were finally defeated at Mohács 1526, and the south and center of the country came under Turkish rule for 150 years, while the east was ruled by semiindependent Hungarian princes. By the end of the 17th century the Turks had been driven out by the Hapsburgs, bringing Hungary under Austrian rule. After 1815 a national renaissance began, under the leadership of Louis Kossuth. The revolution of 1848–49 proclaimed a Hungarian republic and abolished serfdom, but Austria suppressed the revolt with Russian help.
In 1867 the Austro-Hungarian Empire was established, giving Hungary self-government. During World War I, Hungary fought on the German side and, after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian empire, became an independent state 1918. For 133 days in 1919, Hungary was a communist republic under Béla Kun, but this was brought to an end by intervention from Romania and Czechoslovakia. During 1920–44, Hungary was ruled by Admiral Horthy, acting as regent for an unnamed king. After 1933, Horthy fell more and more under German influence and joined Hitler in the invasion of the USSR 1941.
Hungary was overrun by the Red Army 1944–45. Horthy fled, and a provisional government, including the communist agriculture minister Imre Nagy, was formed, distributing land to the peasants. An elected assembly inaugurated a republic 1946, but it soon fell under Soviet domination, although only 70 communists had been returned out of a total of 409 deputies. Under Communist Party leader Matyas Rákosi (1892–1971), a Stalinist regime was imposed 1946–53, with a Soviet-style constitution being adopted 1949, industry nationalized, land collectivized, and a wave of secret-police terror launched.
Hungarian national uprising
Liberalization in the economic sphere was experienced 1953–55 when Imre Nagy, supported by Soviet premier Malenkov, replaced Rákosi as prime minister. Nagy was removed from office 1955, after the fall of Malenkov, but in 1956, in the wake of Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin in his “secret speech”, pressure for democratization mounted. Rákosi stepped down as Communist Party leader and, following student and worker demonstrations in Budapest, Nagy was recalled as prime minister, and János Kádár appointed general secretary of the renamed Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party (HSWP). Nagy lifted restrictions on the formation of political parties, released the anticommunist primate Cardinal Mindszenty, and announced plans for Hungary to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact and become a neutral power. These changes were, however, opposed by Kádár, who set up a countergovernment in E Hungary before returning to Budapest with Soviet tanks to overthrow the Nagy government 4 Nov. Some 200,000 fled to the West during the 1956
Hungarian national uprising. After a period of strict repression, Kádár proceeded to introduce pragmatic liberalizing reforms after 1960. Hungary remained, however, a loyal member of the Warsaw Pact and Comecon.
Hungary’s relations with Moscow significantly improved during the post-Brezhnev era, with Hungary’s “market socialism” experiment influencing Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika program. Further reforms introduced 1987–88 included additional price deregulation, the establishment of “enterprise councils”, the introduction of value-added tax (VAT), and the creation of a stock market. As elsewhere in Eastern Europe, change came quickly to Hungary from 1988. Kádár, who had become an obstacle to reform, was replaced as general secretary of the ruling HSWP party by Károly Grosz 1988, and was named to a new post, that of party president. Two radical reformers, Rezso Nyers and Imre Pozsgay, were brought into the Politburo. The Hungarian Democratic Forum was formed Sept 1988 as an umbrella movement for opposition groups, and several dozen other political parties were formed 1989–90. A period of far-reaching political reform followed, in which the rights to demonstrate freely and to form rival political parties and trade u
nions were ceded. The official verdict on the 1956 events was revised radically, with Nagy being posthumously rehabilitated. In May 1989 the border with Austria was opened, with adverse effects for East Germany as thousands of East Germans escaped to the West through Hungary. Two months later Grosz was forced to cede power to the more radical reformist troika of Nyers (party president), Pozsgay, and Miklos Nemeth (prime minister since Nov 1988), who joined Grosz in a new four-person ruling presidium.
In Oct 1989 a series of constitutional changes, the result of round-table talks held through the summer, were approved by the national assembly. These included the adoption of a new set of electoral rules, the banning of workplace party cells, and the change of the country’s name from “People’s Republic” to simply “Republic”. Also in Oct the HSWP changed its name to the Hungarian Socialist Party (HSP), and adopted Poszgay as its presidential candidate. Conservatives, including Grosz, refused to play an active role in the new party, which had become essentially a social-democratic party committed to multiparty democracy. Despite these changes, the HSP’s standing was seriously damaged in the “Danubegate” scandal of Jan 1990, when it was revealed that the secret police had bugged opposition parties and passed the information obtained to the HSP.
As a major step in the privatization program, begun 1987, a stock exchange was opened in Budapest 1990. In Jan 1991 the forint was devalued by 15% in an effort to boost exports. A Compensation Bill for owners of land and property expropriated under the communist regime was approved by the national assembly June 1991 in an effort to stimulate the privatization program and inward foreign investment. Gross national product fell by 7% in 1991, industrial production fell by one-fifth during the first half of 1991, and by the close of 1991 unemployment rose to more than 7%. However, of all the former communist European states, Hungary experienced the smoothest transition toward a market economy. This was credited to the establishment of self-management and privatization before the downfall of the communist regime in 1989.
In Feb 1990 talks were held with the USSR about the withdrawal of Soviet troops stationed in Hungary. In June 1990 the Hungarian government announced the end of any participation in Warsaw Pact military exercises. The Pact and Comecon were disbanded by July 1991, enabling the country to move toward the West more directly. Hungary joined the Council of Europe Nov 1990. The last Soviet troops left Hungary, on schedule, June 1991. In Dec 1991 Hungary signed a ten-year association agreement with the European Community (EC) and in June 1993 the EC formally invited the country to apply for membership. In 1994 Hungary joined NATO’s “partnership for peace” program as a prelude to full membership in the alliance.
ex-communists take the lead
Prime Minister Jozsef Antall died Dec 1993 and was succeeded by former interior minister Peter Boross of the MDF. The May 1994 assembly elections showed a sharp swing to the left, with the ex-communist HSP emerging victorious from the first round and its pragmatic leader, Gyula Horn, becoming prime minister. Despite holding an absolute majority in parliament, the Socialists formed a coalition government with the centrist Alliance of Free Democrats July 1994, and pledged to maintain a pro-Western, market-centered reform course.
Država u Evropi, Ugarska.Država u Evropi.
Evropska država, Mađarska.