FH: Hungary returns to goulash communism

The spread of illiberal policymaking that undermines democracy has become the norm in the post-Soviet region, Washington-based democracy watchdog Freedom House (FH) said in its annual report on Wednesday.

The European Union and the United States are slowly running out of time for countering this tendency, FH said in its Nations in Transit report.

“What . [Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor] Orban famously hailed in 2014 as ‘illiberal democracy’ is essentially a return to the political practices of goulash communism, in which individual persecution may be relatively rare, but independent institutions are nonexistent and the party and the state are one,”

analyst Nate Schenkkan said in a summary attached to the report.

“The entrenchment of this system matters because it comes from within the EU and thrives on the bloc’s contradictions. Its leading proponent is a European prime minister, Orbán, whose Fidesz party remains in good standing in the largest political grouping in the European Parliament,”

he said, warning that “if the trend continues, it will remake Europe in its own image”.

Nations in Transit publishes democracy scores each year for the countries reviewed. Hungary’s score has declined for 10 years. This indicates that the country has gone from being the region’s leading democracy to a “half-established democracy on the brink of becoming a hybrid regime,” Freedom House said.

The report Nations in Transit, which has been published each year since 1995, reviews the status of democratic institutions in 29 states in the CEE region and Central Asia.

Source: MTI
Photo: Freedom House

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