Emerging anti-pluralism in new democracies

József Bayer


The signs of a definite anti-pluralist turn in the politics of some newly democratized countries in Europe are growing. The paper describes the present Hungarian political situation since the 2010 election. Due to a landslide electoral victory of the Hungarian Civic Union – Fidesz, the new government felt free to rearrange the whole constitutional and political system. Earlier institutions of control over the government have been restrained. The declared need for a “strong state” in a crisis situation seemed to justify a resort to some authoritarian tendencies of the Hungarian past. The paper analyzes the political and ideological features that endanger the guaranties of rights and the achieved political pluralism. It deals with changes of the constitution and the role of the Constitutional Court, the much debated new media law, the con- strained autonomy of interest organizations and local self-governments, and the decisive change of the electoral system. The paper analyses also presumable reasons for this anti-pluralist turn, weighing simple path-dependency in the political culture against the impact of the contemporary economic crisis. It stands in for the pluralist democratic engagement of 1989 that should be saved under the new challenges of the contemporary crisis.


Demokratie, Ungarn


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