Hungary’s Illiberal Turn: Disabling the Constitution

Issue Date July 2012
Volume 23
Issue 3
Page Numbers 138-46
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Hungary’s 2010 election brought to power a Fidesz parliamentary supermajority led by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. In just two years, they have fundamentally changed the constitutional order of Hungary. The current government now has very few checks on its own power, but the new constitutional order permits the governing party to lodge its loyalists in crucial long-term positions with veto power over what future governments might do. As a result, the Fidesz government has achieved a remarkable constitutional feat: giving themselves maximum room for maneuver while simultaneously entrenching their power, their policies and their people for the foreseeable future.

About the Authors

Miklós Bánkuti

Miklós Bánkuti is senior research specialist at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School.

View all work by Miklós Bánkuti

Gábor Halmai

Gábor Halmai is professor of law at Eötvös Lóránd Univerity, Budapest, and visiting research scholar at Princeton University.

View all work by Gábor Halmai

Kim Lane Scheppele

Kim Lane Scheppele is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Sociology and International Affairs at Princeton University. She has worked on Hungarian constitutional law since the 1990s and is coauthor (with Miklós Bánkuti and Gábor Halmai) of the 2012 Journal of Democracy essay “Hungary’s Illiberal Turn: Disabling the Constitution.”

View all work by Kim Lane Scheppele