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ONETIME COMMUNIST LIKELY WILL LEAD HUNGARY

SHARE ONETIME COMMUNIST LIKELY WILL LEAD HUNGARY

Gyula Horn, Hungary's last Communist foreign minister, was chosen on Saturday by his winning Socialist Party to be the new prime minister.

Horn and his government must be confirmed by Parliament. But his Socialists, a reform wing of the former Communists, won a majority in last month's elections, virtually assuring he will be the new head of government.Riding a wave of anxiety over 12 percent unemployment, 22 percent inflation and declining production - all byproducts of economic reform - the Socialists won 209 seats in the 386-seat Parliament.

The 62-year-old Horn has vowed to continue Hungary's transition to a market economy and on Saturday reiterated his desire to have a coalition government.

The Socialists have enough parliament seats to govern alone, but Horn has said he wants a partner to broaden support for what could be more difficult reforms.

Horn said Saturday he has invited the liberal Alliance of Free Democrats, winner of 70 seats in the election, to discuss forming a coalition.

The Free Democrats hold their party congress on Sunday. They had rejected Horn as prime minister and said they didn't want to be the liberal front-men for the Socialists.

But the overwhelming support for Horn - his nomination by the Socialists on Saturday was backed by 431 of 450 delegates - and the Socialists' surprisingly big win in the elections mean that the Free Democrats will have to take Horn if they want a share in the policy-making.