Parliament will consider legislation next month that could make Hungary the first nation in the East Bloc to have legal political parties and trade unions independent of the Communist Party.

Justice Minister Kalman Kulcsar told reporters at a briefing Thursday the government submitted to the National Assembly a bill guaranteeing the right of association and one on freedom of assembly, the official news agency MTI said."If approved by Parliament, the law will imply the recognition of the multi-party system," Kulcsar said. "However, the bill on the right of association reflects the current political situation."

Hungary has one legal communist party - the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party. As in other communist systems, that party is deemed to have the "leading role" in the operation of the state, including all major matters of government and politics.

Other East European nations in the Soviet bloc have several parties, but they're allied with communists.

The bill on the right of association stipulates that private people and legal entities may set up political parties, trade unions, interest groups and other social organizations.