Since coming to power in 2010, the Fidesz–Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP) government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has systematically dismantled the liberal democracy built in Hungary following the collapse of communism and established in its place an illiberal democracy (see Proclamation of the Illiberal Hungarian State).
This hybrid political system has preserved many of the fundamental elements and attributes of liberal democracy: free elections; independent opposition parties; the rule of law; observance of the human and civil rights of all citizens; and respect for civil liberties—the freedoms of speech, religion, association, assembly and, on a practical level, the media.
The semi-authoritarian régime established in Hungary—the first to emerge within the European Union—also has the following general and specific traits that within the country’s present political context are indicative of illiberal democracy:
Manipulates elections and state institutions in order to preserve political power. See:
Establishes legal, institutional and economic framework to stifle independent media. See:
Uses powerful internal-security force for political purposes. See:
Uses mass mobilization as show of force. See:
Impugns and obstructs the operations of non-governmental organizations. See:
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The main objective of illiberal democratic systems such as that currently functioning in Hungary under the leadership of Prime Minister Orbán appears to be to concentrate power as much as possible within the formal parameters of democracy. The rise of this type of system, which also exists in Russia and Turkey and is under formation in Poland as well, poses a significant threat to the unity and political stability of the liberal-democratic European Union in particular and to the global strength and influence of liberal democracy in general.