Hungary: a laboratory of illiberalism and post-truth

18  February 2019    5:00 pm CET

Peter Krekó, Director of Political Capital Institute, Budapest


wiiw, Rahlgasse 3, 1060 Vienna, lecture hall (entrance from the ground floor)


The political changes of the past decade in Hungary have resulted in the establishment of a hybrid political system in which the degree of power concentration is exceptional, at least in European terms. Orbán and his party not only keep a firm grip on the legislative and executive branches, but also dominate virtually all spheres of social life, including commerce, education, the arts, churches, and even sports. The regime’s ‘hybridness’ reflects the uneven development of nondemocratic practices across various sectors of society. Certain subsystems – the courts, for instance – still operate with a large degree of independence, though the executive has been putting them under growing pressure. Other institutions, such as the prosecutors’ offices and the state media, function as ruling-party outposts. The foundations of the current Orbán regime go back to the period just after Fidesz’s 2010 electoral landslide, and were consolidated when the parliament adopted a new constitution that came into effect on the first day of 2012. Still, the 2018 election was widely seen as a crucial test. And this election brought another landslide victory for Fidesz. How was this possible and what are the consequences for Hungary and Europe? What are the specificities of the Orbán regime? What is Orbán’s strategy for the EP elections? This presentation aims to respond to these questions.

Dr Péter Krekó, PhD is a social psychologist and political scientist. He is the director of the Political Capital Institute (a think tank based in Budapest), senior lecturer at the Social Psychology Department of the Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest) and a member of the presidential board of the Hungarian Political Science Association. He was a Fulbright Visiting Professor at Indiana University in Bloomington in 2016-2017. Mr Krekó’s interests include conspiracy theories and fake news, the sharp power influence of the Kremlin in Europe, and political populism and tribalism in Europe. His first book, The Hungarian Far Right, was published in 2017 (ibidem Press, distributed by Columbia University Press). His second book on fake news and conspiracy theories was published in Hungarian in 2018. Mr Krekó participates in several collaborative international research projects on the study of the far right and conspiracy theories.

Paper and Powerpoint presentation, as far as available, are posted on this page after the seminar.