Opposing illiberalism: a case-study of Hungary

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Lafage-Roux, Victoria
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This research is a reflection on the role and state of the political and civil opposition in political regimes in general, and in Hungary through a case-study. It seeks to reaffirm that the opposition is a democratic variable that deserves our undivided attention as it highlights the nature of the political system in which it operates. The study of the rights of the opposition in a democratic society offers a comprehensive overview of present European legal guarantees in relation to this key actor of democracy. At the same time, it stresses the complexity of distinguishing democratic and non-democratic rules, as their effects always depend on an original political context. The illiberal trend that is spreading in European countries constitutes an anti-democratic agenda that inherently attacks pluralism and opposition voices. The treatment of the opposition in such regimes helps to clarify the regime types and this can aid those who are being oppressed. Through a case-study on the Hungarian opposition, this research will provide, via a new perspective, a better understanding of the de-consolidation process that has been occurring in Hungary over the last eight years. Building on this analysis, the research will explain the main challenges that the last bastion of democracy faces in order to be an effective check and balance mechanism. Obstacles appears very diverse and the analysis stresses their causes and effects in the particular context. Crucial challenges, such as the media capture and attacks on civil society organisations, are objects of further consideration as they are decisive for the Hungarian political system in the long-run.
Second semester University: Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest
Hungary, democracy, pluralism, political opposition, civil society, populism