Authoritarian Regime Durability

The Bread and Butter of Hungarian and Polish Backsliding during COVID-19

7 May 2020

Edit Zgut-Przybylska

Visegrad Insight Fellow

The Hungarian and Polish governments – furthest into autocracy in the EU – are manoeuvring well in the coronavirus storm to secure power in the long run.

Only four days before the officially announced date of the presidential election Jarosław Kaczyński and Jarosław Gowin struck a deal yesterday to solve a political crisis over the controversial postal vote.

The leader of the ruling Law and Justice party agreed with his rebel coalition partner that nothing will happen this Sunday 10 May after all. They expect the Supreme Court to annul the election, shortly after no voting takes place on the day, and then to call a new election, most likely for July this year.

The backroom deal ensured that the real centre of power is elsewhere than it is defined by the Polish Constitution. The informal leader of the country continues to manoeuvre through the COVID-19 crisis to secure power in the long run.

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Edit Zgut-Przybylska

Visegrad Insight Fellow

Visegrad Insight Fellow and re:constitution fellow. Political scientist and sociologist, a researcher at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Vice-president of Amnesty International Hungary and a guest lecturer at the Foreign Service Institute of the State Department of the United States. Focusing on informal power and populism in the context of Hungarian and Polish democratic backsliding.

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