How to Build and Consolidate a Partly Free Pseudo Democracy by Constitutional Means in Three Steps: The ‘Hungarian Model’

29 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2020

See all articles by Petra Bard

Petra Bard

Central European University (CEU)

Laurent Pech

Middlesex University - School of Law

Date Written: October 14, 2019

Abstract

With Orbán’s autocratic constitutional revolution in mind, one may distinguish between three main legal steps when it comes to establishing and consolidating a partly free, pseudo democracy in a country where a democratic regime based on the rule of law was previously said to be consolidated: (i) Rewrite the constitution to make it ‘autocracy-compatible’; (ii) Organise a legislative blitzkrieg, allegedly in the name of implementing the new constitutional order, so as to conceal a process of capture (or dismantlement) of all national checks and balances; (iii) Make a strategic use (when necessary) of the constitution and/or the (captured) constitutional court to further consolidate and/or defend the new autocratic constitutional order. The lessons one may draw from Hungary’s descent into authoritarianism under Orbán may help designing more resilient systems so as to prevent additional countries from experiencing a similar deliberate process of democratic and rule of law backsliding, which in the Hungarian case, has resulted in the transformation of a previously consolidated democracy into a partly free, pseudo democracy.

Keywords: Authoritarianism, autocracy, constitutionalism, constitutional capture, constitutional court, democracy, liberal democracy, rule of law, rule of law backsliding

Suggested Citation

Bard, Petra and Pech, Laurent, How to Build and Consolidate a Partly Free Pseudo Democracy by Constitutional Means in Three Steps: The ‘Hungarian Model’ (October 14, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3608784 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3608784

Petra Bard

Central European University (CEU) ( email )

Nador utca 9
Budapest, H-1051
Hungary

Laurent Pech (Contact Author)

Middlesex University - School of Law ( email )

The Burroughs
WG 11
London, NW4 4BT
United Kingdom

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