The Hungarian Parliament Wednesday approved a law that paves the way for the officially recognized formation of multiple political parties for the first time in communist Eastern Europe, but with government regulation.

Six of the 387 MPs voted against the bill, and 24 abstained on the legislation, which requires regulation of a party's formation.The law on associations specifies that private individuals and organizations may form political parties, trade unions, mass movements, other representational bodies, societies and associations.

It also contains language specifying that a political party's formation, its registration, supervision and dissolution should be regulated by a separate law. That law must be submitted by the government to Parliament by Aug. 1.

The governing Council of Ministers rejected a proposal by former Foreign Minister Frigyas Puja that the bill delete all references to political parties in the law on associations, which would have the effect of continuing the present situation in which independent parties are not specifically prohibited or controlled.