The decline of liberal democracy in Europe’s midst

10955Gábor Halmai at Eurozine:

Hungary's illiberal turn, which has significantly weakened the rule of law safeguards instituted by the 1989-1990 constitutional process, can be described as a 'constitutional counter-revolution'.[1] At the same time, it has not resulted in the restoration of either a single-party or police state structures. Rather, the Hungarian system since 2010 is better characterized as a 'democradura'.[2] In the following, I describe the elements and possible reasons for Hungary's political transformation.[3] The failure of the elite (myself included) that built liberal democracy in Hungary is one of the issues discussed. Another is why the first twenty years of regime transition did not see the emergence of greater respect for constitutional values. This would have prevented the rapid deconstruction of democracy or, at the very least, have made the collapse more difficult.

Especially after the refugee crisis, the Hungarian situation is also a test as to whether, and to what extent, the civilized world, especially Europe, can enforce global values in countries that are members of the international community, and of value-based communities such as the European Union and the Council of Europe. So far, the results by no means qualify as a success. The Hungarian government's minor concessions have been due not to the resolve of European institutions, nor to the power its value-enforcement mechanisms, but to the exigencies of Hungary's economic situation.

more here.