Grosz: treading thin ice

Karoly Grosz, the new Hungarian party leader, was probably mildly surprised by Pravda's eulogy of his ``principled and determined'' stand with those rebuilding the party after its debacle in the 1956 uprising and subsequent Soviet invasion. He went on record only two years ago about his ``confusion'' as a young party official at that time, saying it was only his father who deterred him from leaving the party. For some time, his ``loyalty'' was under question, before he resumed a steadily upward career in the party apparatus.

He came to Budapest as first secretary of its party organization in 1984. Last year, he became prime minister - a post, he says, he hopes to relinquish before the end of the year.

In a country disgruntled with economic decline and impatient for more purposeful government, he revived a reform process, which included withdrawing subsidies to losing enterprises, tying wages to job performance, and introducing income and value-added taxes.

``We shall be treading on very thin ice politically,'' he told this writer shortly before taking over as premier. ``But there is no other way.''

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