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Hungary's ex-PM Horn calls for slower reforms

Hungary's former Prime Minister Gyula Horn called for a more gradual implementation of government reforand closer ties with voters on Wednesday, one day before celebrating his 75th birthday.

“We must reach out to people,” he said, warning that eroding popularity of the governing Socialists at polls could hit a bottom from where there was no upturn. Horn said the government had launched important reforms but whether it could see through health care reform was the key issue. If this is successful, the Socialists can win the 2010 elections, he said.

MTI News Agency reported that Horn headed the Socialist-liberal government from 1994 to 1998 and a MP at present. His efforts in helping to dismantle the Iron Curtain in the late 1980s was considered a contribution to reuniting Germany and recognized abroad. His birthday celebration on Friday will be attended by several dignitaries including Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev and ex-German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher. (