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

Rohac, Dalibor. “Transitions, Populism, and Democratic Decline: Evidence from Hungary and the Czech Republic.” European Politics and Society, September 6, 2021.


Although both Hungary and the Czech Republic have seen populists arrive in power over the past decade, only Hungary has experienced a measurable deterioration in the quality of its democratic institutions and rule of law. The different circumstances of the transition after 1989, particularly the differences in constitutional choices and transitional justice measures, help explain the cleavages, polarization, and erosion of trust that characterized Hungarian politics in the run up to the 2010 election. Jointly with a highly disproportionate electoral system, these structural factors made Hungary more prone to the de-democratization observed under Viktor Orbán than the Czech Republic.

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.