Democracy Besieged, Illiberalism Entrenched

The Warning Example of Hungary

23 April 2019

Prior to 2010, the Hungarian constitutional system appeared to be best equipped with the armoury of militant democracy against any possible authoritarian advance.

The Hungarian Constitutional Court was recognised as one of the most powerful constitutional tribunals in Europe, and its jurisdiction deeply rooted in the tradition of the famous German Bundesverfassungsgericht. The country’s constitution and cardinal laws were protected by a supermajority clause, setting the threshold of amendment so high that it effectively hindered any large, systemic revision of the Hungarian constitution from 1990 until 2010.

The independence of justice seemed to be effectively guaranteed, and Hungary appeared to be a success story of the implementation of the Scandinavian ombudsman model in East-Central-

Viktor Orbán

Europe.

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Daniel Hegedüs

Rethink.CEE fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States

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