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Photo: “02/01/2019 Audiência com Viktor Orban, Primeiro Ministro da Hungria“, by Palácio do Planalto, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. Hue modified from the original

Plattner, Marc F. “Illiberal Democracy and the Struggle on the Right.” Journal of Democracy 30, no. 1 (2019): 5-19.


With the longstanding dominance of center-left and center-right parties ebbing across Europe and Latin America, there is a growing danger that substantial segments of the right will be captured by tendencies indifferent or even hostile to liberal democracy. The 2019 elections to the European Parliament will provide a key test. Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has transformed the debate by openly promoting the concept of “illiberal democracy.” Orbán seeks to equate liberal democracy as such with a set of policy positions supported by forces on the left, thereby prying conservatives away from their fundamental commitment to liberal democracy. This rising challenge has manifested itself in a struggle for control of the European Union’s center-right bloc, the European People’s Party, as well as in the recent writings of several political theorists identified with the conservative side of the political spectrum.

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.