The Third Hungarian Republic (1989–2010)

Four PMs

Prime ministers of the Third Hungarian Republic: József Antall (upper left); Gyula Horn (upper right); Viktor Orbán (lower left); and Ferenc Gyurcsány (lower right).

Interim President Mátyás Szűrös proclaimed the establishment of the Third Hungarian Republic on October 23, 1989, thus marking the end of the Hungarian People’s Republic established forty years earlier. Hungary completed its peaceful transition from one-party communist dictatorship to multi-party democracy with the holding of free National Assembly elections in March and April 1990.

Subsequent Christian-nationalist and socialist governments built the liberal-democratic foundations of the Third Hungarian Republic upon those established during the short-lived First Hungarian Republic (1918–1919) and Second Hungarian Republic (1946–1949).

During the period of the Third Hungarian Republic, Hungary integrated with West along with the other former Soviet Bloc countries of Eastern Europe, joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1999 and the European Union in 2004.

Hungary had seven prime ministers during the Third Hungarian Republic: József Antall of the Hungarian Democratic Forum (HDF) from 1990 to 1993; Péter Boross of the Hungarian Democratic Forum from 1993 to 1994; Gyula Horn of the Hungarian Socialist Party from 1994 to 1998; Viktor Orbán of the Alliance of Young Democrats (Fidesz) from 1998 to 2002; Péter Medgyessy  of the Hungarian Socialist Party from 2002 to 2004; Ferenc Gyurcsány of the Hungarian Socialist Party from 2004 to 2009; and party-unaffiliated Gordon Bajnai from 2009 to 2010.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his FideszChristian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP) government systematically dismantled the liberal democracy established in Hungary during the Third Hungarian Republic after coming to power in 2010, establishing a semi-authoritarian illiberal democracy in its place. The Orbán government and the Fidesz-KDNP-controlled National Assembly established the constitutional framework for this new system via the 2012 Fundamental Law, which dropped the designation “republic” from the official name of Hungary, though declared the country’s form of government to be republican.

Full article: 2017.