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Hungary-Party Structure

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In theory, the party congress formed the highest authority in the HSWP, although, because it met only once every five years, it lacked real power. Its members were appointed by officials of the Central Committee and the Politburo, two organs nominally responsible to the party congress. The Central Committee, which included more than 100 members and usually met once every three months, also was too large to exert much influence. The Central Committee yielded in real power and authority to the Politburo and the Secretariat. Also nominally subordinate to the party congress was the Central Control Committee, which enforced party discipline.

The Politburo and the Secretariat paralleled a set of governmental institutions that included the Council of Ministers and the Presidential Council (see Presidential Council , this ch.). The difference between party and government institutions lay in the distinction between policy formation and policy execution. In general, the party formulated policy and the government carried it out. Since the early postwar period, however, the party has been heavily involved in executing economic, domestic political, and foreign policies. Nevertheless, in the late 1980s party leaders, especially General Secretary Grosz, called upon party organs to withdraw from day-to-day supervision of policy execution and content themselves with establishing broad policy guidelines.

Within the party, the Politburo was responsible for selecting policy alternatives. The Secretariat produced policy alternatives for the Politburo, and, once that body made a decision, the Secretariat carried them out. Of course, in fulfilling its role the Secretariat often made policy decisions itself.

The structure of intermediate party organizations on the county and district levels resembled that of the central institutions. According to the Party Rules, the authoritative body at each level was the conference, which elected a committee that in turn chose a bureau with several members (including a first secretary) and a secretariat. Conferences at the district level elected delegates to the county party conference. However, in late 1980s the norms of democratic centralism dictated that party leaders at each level approve the composition of the conference that elected them, as well as the composition of party committees, bureaus, and secretariats on the next lowest level.

Basic Organizations made up the lowest rung of the party hierarchy. In contrast to higher rungs on the hierarchy, which were organized on a territorial basis, the Basic Organizations were located at places of work, residences, and armed forces units having more than three party members. The party meeting formed the highest authority at this level. The only full-time, salaried party official in the Basic Organization was the secretary.

Data as of September 1989

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