Edited By Florian Bieber, Magdalena Solska and Dane Taleski
6. Pioneering Illiberal State Building in the European Union: The Case of Hungary (Dániel Hegedűs)
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6. Pioneering Illiberal State Building in the European Union: The Case of Hungary
Hungary, as the primary model of illiberalism and authoritarian trends in Europe, does not represent a strange and unique scenario. The key components enabling democratic backsliding, like the collapse of progressive political parties due to scandals and poor governance performance, an unfavourable external economic environment, and a majoritarian electoral system, are far from being exceptional. By providing an overview of the main characteristics of the post-2010 illiberal constitutional engineering process, the supply and demand side of populism in Hungary, as well as the implications of domestic changes for Hungarian foreign policy, this chapter argues that the three constitutive aspects of the democratic backsliding in Hungary are elite failure, institutional deficits, and the supply-side-driven authoritarianization strategy of an illiberal elite, which is tolerated rather than supported by the Hungarian electorate.
Keywords: authoritarianization, constitutional engineering, democratic backsliding, Hungary, illiberalism
Liberal democracies appear to be reeling from the rise of illiberal populism throughout Europe. Contrary to the widespread perception, the triumphant return of authoritarian tendencies and values seems to be uniting the western and eastern parts of the Old Continent, rather than dividing them. The deep political dynamics undermining the liberal consensus, and especially the institutions of liberal democracy, ruling Western societies for many decades and their East-Central-European counterparts since 1989–1990, at first glance seem to be identical. The political cleavage between “old...
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