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Departmental Seminar

The CEU Campus
Wednesday, March 23, 2016, 1:30 pm – 3:10 pm

Matthijs Bogaards : "Hungary: A Defective Democracy?"

Many observers inside and outside the country have watched with concern how Hungary’s political institutions have changed after the victory of prime minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party in the 2010 parliamentary elections. The terms most commonly used to capture the contemporary nature of Hungary’s regime are “authoritarianism” and “illiberal democracy”. In contrast, this paper will argue that Hungary is neither authoritarian nor illiberal. Its undeniable democratic deficits are best brought out through the concept and typology of defective democracy. Hungary today is what could be called a “diffusely defective” democracy, combining features of an exclusive, delegative, and tutelary democracy. In each domain, democratic defects fall short of crossing the boundary with electoral authoritarianism, but taken together, they reveal the systematic and structural weakening of democracy by the current government. Because many of these democratic defects have been constitutionally entrenched, it is difficult to see how an alternation in power – already unlikely in itself – can restore Hungary to a functioning democracy.