Skip to main content

Halmai, Gabor. “The Fall of the Rule of Law in Hungary and the Complicity of the EU.” Italian J. Pub. L. 12 (2020): 204.


Hungary was one of the first and most thorough political transitions after 1989, which due the negotiated ‘rule of law revolution, provided all the institutional elements of liberal constitutional democracy: rule of law, checks and balances and guaranteed fundamental rights. Hungary also represents the first, and probably the model case, of backsliding to an illiberal system dismantling the rule of law. The current Hungarian state of affairs was made possible by the governing Fidesz party’s 2010 electoral victory, called by Prime Minister and party leader Viktor Orban as a ‘revolution of the ballot boxes.’ As I will argue in this paper the European Union is also complicit in tolerating the first authoritarian member state of the European Union.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.