Until the late 1980s, the law contained no provision for voluntary, independent associations of people interested in influencing social or political policy. Potential independent groups had no concrete channels by which to gain regime approval. During four decades of communist rule, clear legal status belonged only to such mass organizations as the Communist Youth League, official trade unions, the National Council of Hungarian Women, and a variety of nonpolitical associations catering to narrow, special interests of the population. Until the late 1980s, authorities actively discouraged the formation of unofficial groups.
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