Autocratic Shield against EU Criticism

The Instrumentalisation of National Public Consultations

5 June 2020

Edit Zgut-Przybylska

Visegrad Insight Fellow

The Hungarian government is misusing national consultations to manipulate public opinion and consolidate its power. Undermining democracy with such semi-formalised informal tools will not disappear any time soon from within the European Union.

While Europe is easing lockdown-measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, the Hungarian government has recently announced that it will revoke the controversial “special legal order”, that was introduced during the outbreak of the global pandemic crisis.

The so-called Enabling Act provided Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán with unlimited power to govern by decree without a sunset provision.

The government has even launched an offensive against foreign experts and media outlets, accusing them of “misinterpreting the Hungarian situation” and demanding an apology in official letters.

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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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