Hungary’s Illiberal Turn: Can Outsiders Help?

Issue Date July 2012
Volume 23
Issue 3
Page Numbers 147-55
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Hungary’s “constitutional revolution” presents the most significant case of democratic backsliding in the European Union to date. The illiberal constitution, introduced by the Orbán government and protected by a host of new appointees, undermines the independence of various political institutions and guarantees virtually unlimited powers for the ruling party. But it also challenges the core values of the European Union, while underscoring significant limitations of supranational community in regulating the more troublesome behavior of its member states. In this article, the authors identify the key weaknesses of the main domestic and international actors in resisting Orbán’s constitutional revolution and highlight some promising developments within Hungarian civil society, which deserve direct and indirect support from the international community.