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Hungary: Prime Minister Says He Was Communist Agent

Budapest, 19 June 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Hungarian Prime Minister Peter Medgyessy admitted today that he was a communist counterintelligence officer in the field of international finance between 1977 and 1982. "I worked in the (Hungarian) Finance Ministry between 1977 and 1982 in the Department of International Financial Relations as a counterintelligence officer. For five years I helped ensure that foreign informers did not get a hold of Hungarian secrets so as to prevent Hungary from being admitted to the IMF [International Monetary Fund]."

Medgyessy had earlier said he would step down after less than a month as prime minister if he feels "confidence towards me is teetering in any way."

Deputies from the ruling coalition Socialist and Free Democrat parties are expected to meet today to discuss the Socialist prime minister's possible resignation. The Free Democrats have voted to accept Medgyessy's resignation if it is offered.

The controversy was sparked by a report yesterday by the conservative daily "Magyar Nemzet" that accused the prime minister of being a spy for the communist secret services.

Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs said that he does not consider the issue to have created a crisis among the ruling coalition.