Government and Politics in Hungary

Government and Politics in Hungary

Government and Politics in Hungary

Government and Politics in Hungary

Synopsis

This text provides both a historical overview and an analysis of the main political actors, constitution, electoral system, parliament and political parties of Hungary. It also challenges many stereotypes of post-communist political literature.

Excerpt

In the years following the democratic transition of 1989–1990, Eastern and Western European political scientists alike pondered the same point: to what extent would the emerging democracies in Hungary and the other East-Central European countries be viable? the factors making the stabilization of these democracies more difficult included not only the social costs of the simultaneous transition to a market economy, but also the weakness of the democratic political culture and traditions. in this introduction we seek to identify which elements of the historical legacy have influenced political development since the régime transition. in doing so, we progress from the past towards the present, considering first the long-term and then the medium-term traditions, and finally assessing the influence of the most recent decades.

In many ways, the two most important determining factors behind Hungarian political traditions have been the country’s uneasy geopolitical location, wedged between East and West, and its long struggle for national and state sovereignty. the country’s dominant political culture has always had a Western orientation. But Hungary has felt itself to be on the periphery of the West, producing the feeling of national defencelessness, of having been left to struggle alone, that has often emerged during the twentieth century. This fragile position has been linked also to peculiarities in societal development, as is described perhaps most famously by Jenõ Szűcs, following István Bibó, in his essay ‘The Three Historical Regions of Europe: An Outline’ (Szűcs, 1983).

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