Controlled Pluralism: Is Hungary the Future of Eastern Europe?

by J. D. Porro

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Since de-Stalinization, ruling Communist elites in Eastern Europe have found it increasingly difficult to pursue their goals of (1) maintenance of the leading role of the Party, (2) political stability of their regimes, and (3) economic growth. A crucial question for the future of Eastern European Communist regimes is--How can the three goals be pursued simultaneously? Can there exist in Eastern Europe a political system which combines the leading role of the Party with pluralism? The author suggests we look to models of American pluralism developed by some of pluralism's more radical critics, and outlines a model of "controlled pluralism" in which the Party elite can protect its leading role while promoting stability and economic growth. Since January 1, 1968, when the New Economic Mechanism and other reforms were introduced, the Hungarian political system has come increasingly to resemble the comparative pluralism model. However, this does not mean that it will necessarily succeed in the rest of Eastern Europe. 18 pp. Ref.

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