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Hungary left considers pact

HUNGARY'S hard-pressed Socialists decided yesterday to step up their general election campaign to stay ahead of an emerging right but did not exclude the possibility of a broad coalition.

"In politics nothing can be ruled out," Socialist Prime Minister Gyula Horn said after a meeting of the party's presidium. "It is very important to preserve stability and the country's ability to operate."

The Socialists gained 32.25 per cent of the vote in Sunday's first round but their coalition partner Free Democrats fell below 8 per cent while second place Fidesz shot up to 28.2 per cent. The agrarian Smallholders rose sharply to 13.8 per cent and the far-right Hungarian Justice and Life Party scored 5.5 per cent, to enter parliament for the first time. Reuters, Budapest