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Parliament will pass a resolution to extend the mandate of Hungary’s vetting judges by six months until June 30, 2005, according to an agreement reached by the four political parties represented in Parliament.

The vetting judges, who are responsible for uncovering the past of people now in influential positions, have to review the lives and deeds of approximately 1,000 people, now mostly serving as criminal judges and prosecutors. Such huge task cannot be completed until the original deadline on Dec. 31, 2004.

Major opposition party Fidesz has proposed an extension until December 2005, while junior coalition party SZDSZ suggested September 2005 as an ideal date. The current extension is the third in line since the vetting judges started work. Their mandate is to find if people now in influential positions collaborated with the former Communist regime.

In the meantime, a proposal to expand the scope of vetting has been submitted to Parliament by SZDSZ MPs Imre Mécs and Gábor Fodor. Parliament’s national security committee recently reviewed the proposal and found it unsuitable for open debate. MSZP MPs cited constitutional and political reasons for their rejection, while the opposition said the proposal lacked suggestions on punishment for those found collaborating with the Communist regime.

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