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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

Kim, Seongcheol. ““Illiberal Democracy” after Post‐Democracy : Revisiting the Case of Hungary.” The Political Quarterly, 15 Apr. 2023


In taking stock of the ruling Fidesz party’s project of ‘illiberal democracy’ in Hungary, this article first develops considerations based on Claude Lefort’s democratic theory for critiquing ‘illiberal democracy’ and post-democracy alike, situating the former in an early 2010s post-democratic moment characterised by the emergence of a neoliberal crisis management regime in the Eurozone. ‘Illiberal democracy’ and ‘market-conforming democracy’ are both problematic from this standpoint insofar as they subordinate the key Lefortian dimension of democratic contestation to either the primacy of the markets or a reified conception of the ‘national interest’ as represented by a single party. The analysis then traces the development of ‘illiberal democracy’ and its construction of key signifiers such as the ‘national interest’ in programmatic speeches made by Viktor Orbán, from its beginnings in the post-democratic moment to subsequent crisis conjunctures in which it has redefined itself against ever newer threats.

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.