HUNGARY'S FIRST POST-communist elections, held in 1990, seemed to suggest the political destruction of the former ruling party. The Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) received only 8.55 percent of the vote, and the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party - the conservative wing of the onetime ruling party - failed to gain the 4 percent support necessary for parliamentary representation. By May 1994. however, the parliamentary elections conclusively demonstrated how deceiving appearances can be and the folly of burying the Hungarian left too hastily.1 The magnitude of the MSZP's electoral victory in the 1994 elections was unanticipated even by its leaders: the party captured 54 percent of the parliamentary seats, thus gaining an absolute majority in the legislature.
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