Hungary: Halfway To Authoritarianism

Today is Revolution Day in Hungary, an annual celebration marking the Hungarian people’s 1848 uprising against the Habsburg Monarchy. Often observed with political demonstrations, this year’s holiday comes at a significant moment, only days after the country’s Parliament passed a constitutional amendment that many citizens consider a violation of Hungary’s democratic principles. The controversial law is only the latest in a series of major political overhauls pushed by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. In 2011, his conservative Fidesz Party used its parliamentary supermajority to ratify a new constitution that has been criticized by the European Union and the United States for its eliminations of institutional checks and balances. To discuss the implications of Hungary’s new constitution, recent legislation and the broader political situation, artist and activist Gabriella Csoszó turned to Gábor Attila Tóth, a constitutional lawyer who is a founding member and, since January 2013, president of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union.


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