Democracy deteriorating in Hungary under Viktor Orban, report says

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban gives a press conference in the Karmelita monastery housing the prime minister's office in Budapest on April 6, 2022.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban gives a press conference in the Karmelita monastery housing the prime minister's office in Budapest on April 6, 2022. Copyright ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP or licensors
Copyright ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP or licensors
By Euronews with AFP
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Hungary has been under increased scrutiny for its growing far-right and anti-democratic practices under Orban.


Democracy in Hungary under Prime Minister Viktor Orban deteriorated further last year, according to a US report on the state of democracy in Eastern Europe published on Wednesday.

The US government-funded but independently run research organisation Freedom House's report pointed out that Hungary's score has deteriorated more than any other country in the region except Russia.

Hungary is 43% democratic compared to 45% a year earlier, the report noted. 

The report particularly denounces the conduct of the last parliamentary elections, which were marred by "irregularities, abuse of administrative resources and media distortions", as well as "the Orban regime's growing intolerance for dissenting voices".

Since his return to power in 2010, Hungary's nationalist leader has gradually curtailed checks and balances in both the media and the judiciary, regularly drawing criticism from the European Union.

Hungary recently hosted the European version of the most prominent right-wing political event in the US, known as the Conservative Political Action Conference, cementing its role as a leader in the global far-right. 

Hosting the event, Orban hit out at the "so-called woke agenda," denouncing LGBTQ+ rights, migration, and the content of education for children. 

The Hungarian Prime Minister also vetoed an anti-LGBTQ+ law earlier this year, inviting an EU lawsuit backed by the governments of 15 member states of the bloc.

The report contrasts Hungary's slump with Poland, pointing to the ruling party's "contempt for liberal democracy." 

A report published by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) last November pointed out Poland's "faltering democracy" due to reduced independence of the media and judiciary system under the influence of the ruling government. 

However, the recent report by Freedom House praised Poland's massive reception of Ukrainians who fled the war provoked by Russia, keeping the country's rating stable at 59%. 

Vladimir Putin's Russia has dropped from 5% democratic to 2% – citing growing authoritarianism and the invasion of Ukraine as major reasons. 

Estonia has the highest democracy rating, at 83% in the region, followed closely by Latvia, Slovenia, Lithuania and the Czech Republic, according to the report.

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