Liberal Communists and their more orthodox counterparts clashed Friday at a historic party congress, with reformers calling for an end to orthodox communism and their rivals emphasizing loyalty to past values.
By deciding how much their party should change, delegates at the four-day congress will influence the political future of Hungary. With its commitment to free elections by next year, the country is, along with Poland, at the forefront of reform in the Soviet bloc.While reformists seek to discard orthodox Marxist concepts in favor of a democratic party that can compete in a multiparty system, the conservatives only want to modify existing beliefs and structures.
"We must say goodbye to the political mummies" who refuse to accept change, said Attila Agh, a leader of the rank-and-file reformist faction at the congress.
The agreement between opposition groups and the party's mostly reform-minded leadership to hold the country's first free elections in 47 years could be endangered if conservatives slow full-fledged liberalization.