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Hungarian Parliament hue changed: Photo: “Budapest: Hungarian Parliament“, by Jorge Franganillo licensed under CC BY 2.0. Hue modified from the original


In this chapter the author presents the institutional governance reforms in Hungary which commenced in 2019. By 2022 75% of public higher education institutions were transformed into private institutions owned and maintained by public interest trusts. As a result, the share of students studying in public institutions fell from 86% to 21%. The new boards, composed mainly of external members including several active politicians, have the right to decide on the university’s budget, structure, organisational and operational rules, internal governance system and define the powers of the senate. The main research question is how the new governance system fits in with European practice. The general conclusion is that, while there are some similarities with European patterns in certain elements, on some crucial issues, policy-makers have chosen atypical solutions. This raises the question of to what extent can the patterns of exercising power in illiberal democracies explain the peculiarities of the new governance model.

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.