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According to the Constitution, the Council of Ministers
guided, influenced, and controlled the entire construction
economic, political, and social system of socialism. The
had primary authority over economic decision making; it
and implemented the regime's economic plans. Beginning in
with the introduction of the New Economic Mechanism (NEM),
effort to relax central controls over the economy, the
Ministers has played a particularly critical role within
Economic Policy and Performance, 1945-85
, ch. 3).
In 1989 the Council of Ministers consisted of a
prime minister), two deputy prime ministers, twelve
the chairman of the National Planning Authority, the
the People's Control Committee, and the chairman of the
Planning Committee. The number of ministries has varied
time. In 1989 they included agriculture and food, culture
education, defense, environmental protection and water
management, finance, foreign affairs, health and social
industry, internal affairs, justice, communications,
construction, and trade. Other agencies also operated
auspices of the Council of Ministers and in 1989 included
Central Statistical Office, the Hungarian National Bank,
National Price Office, the State Office for Church
State Office for Youth and Sports, the Postal Service, and
State Wage and Labor Office.
Although the Council of Ministers devoted primary
to the economy, according to the Constitution its first
responsibility was to "safeguard and guarantee the
social order of the state and the rights of the citizens."
1989 other duties included enforcing laws and decree-laws,
supporting scientific and cultural development,
system for social and health services, and concluding and
approving international agreements. According to Chapter
Article 34, of the Constitution, a special act of the
Assembly may assign other duties to the Council of
addition to those described in the Constitution.
In 1989 ministers had no fixed term of office.
served at the behest of the National Assembly and could,
recommendation of the party, be recalled at any time.
Hungarian political scientist Mihaly Bihari has argued
the Council of Ministers and the ministerial system
institutionalized society's economic interests and their
representation within the government. The ministerial
made the most important decisions on the economy because
the requisite knowledge at their disposal as a result of
day-to-day administration of issues under their
Although the National Assembly and, most often, the
Council issued laws, regulations, and decrees, the
developed and selected the suggested proposals. Bargaining
ministries and within the Council of Ministers resolved
differences on these proposals. All interested ministries
opportunity to modify these proposals so that it was
discern the interests and political demands of the social
groupings represented by each ministry.
The People's Control Committee functioned under the
of the Council of Ministers. The committee supervised a
of similar committees at the local levels. The
Council appointed members of the People's Control
volunteers staffed most of the positions at the local
committees oversaw the operations of government organs,
organizations, and economic enterprises to ensure proper
management and legality.
Data as of September 1989