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In 1988, Gyurcsány called for Fidesz to be "squeezed out politically." In 1988, using the word "political" signalled that democratic methods were to be used in place of the tools of a police state.

The fall of the dictatorship can be followed via linguistic changes. The Kádár régime attacked dissident opinions and the opposition by "administrative means". These included observation, withdrawing passports, spending a couple of nights in a police cell. Administrative means could include denying grants for study abroad and breaking up circles of friends.

"Politics" was a suspect term under the dictatorship. Though "reforming the political institutional structure" was a frequent phrase in periodicals with a limited readership in the 1980s, even the party elites were cautious about using the word. Supporters of the Kádár dictatorship made sure that nobody overstep the line dividing the communist dictatorship and its sworn enemy: pluralism. Under Kádár's soft dictatorship, totalitarianism came to an end, but even after 1956, state power was based on suppressing "enemy forces". Suppression was based on the application of "administrative means". The Kádár dictatorship considered "political life" to be superfluous, since it implied diversity. The Kádárists argued that once a workers' government had been established there was no need to reconcile different interests. Until 1986-87 it was considered inappropriate to mention "politics" as an independent sphere.

"Politics" entered into the vocabulary of the highest echelons when Károly Grösz became prime minister in 1987. Though the practice of administrative methods remained, under Grósz, the Communist Party moved into the field of "politics", and the party had to find "political answers" to problems that arose. Use of the word signified a rejection of the Kádár dictatorship. The growth of intellectual life in the 1980s rehabilitated politics. The reform of the political institutions allowed divergent interests to emerge. Politics became the opposite of force. Gyurcsány's use of the phrase "political means" meant that non-violent, non dictatorial means should be used.

At the same time, the nature of power did not change. Party workers calling for reform had no wish to lose power. They wished to develop more modern power structures. They had their own enemies, in the form of civil society organisations. Enemies, one wanted to squeeze out the other. But with the rehabilitation of politics, this no longer brought about the continuation of dictatorship but the emergence of a democratic order.
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Opinion - Lajos V. Mohai

The Hungarian Democratic Forum's (MDF) biggest problem is that the elections are approaching, and the party's aspiration to preserve its own independence seems ever less plausible. But the Christian Democrats are not in the least bit disturbed by the fact that Fidesz long ago undermined the idea of blazing an independent trail.

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Opinion - László Dobszay

A new law being drafted by the Education Ministry would mean that only people with university degrees could teach. The draft in question is meant to bring Hungarian law in to line with the Bologna agreement, but it contains an extra rule that would radically change the structure of teacher training in Hungary. And this change has not been fully thought through.

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With six months to go until the elections

With six months to go until the elections, it's worth looking back to the run-up to the 1994, 1998 and 2002 elections. In each case, the government's impending defeat was clearer six months ahead of time than immediately before the election. The parliamentary see-saw has functioned impeccably so far.

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Crowded out

The number of unemployed career-beginners has almost doubled over the past two years, despite the government's decision to focus on their plight at the beginning of the year.

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Hungarians working

Eighteen months after accession to the EU, the number of Hungarians working in western Europe is about the same as the population of a major city in Hungary. Whilst the positive and negative impacts of this are still unclear, one thing is certain: the outflow is set to continue.

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Minority issue

Parliament is likely to have the final say on whether Jews should be recognised as a nationality in Hungary. But the Electoral Commission has given the nod to the petition needed to bring the issue before parliament.

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