When we talk about illiberal democracy or populism in our European context we use the word ‘the rise’ – the rise of illiberal democracy, the rise of populism – but it is an outdated narrative. Currently, we are dealing with normalization of illiberal democracy.
After a promising start the Hungarian political system could not turn into a liberal democracy. It is not a special occurrence, in some other “third wave countries” democratization slowed down or stopped as well. The democracy crisis has many reasons: fragmented political culture, economic problems, problematic challenges to fundamental rights.
Viktor Orbán gave his traditional annual speech, underling the need to strengthen Christianity, building Christian democracy in Hungary, while fighting liberalism. Christian Democrats surely cringe upon hearing this line of thought, leaving us all to wonder what an illiberal Christian democracy ought to look like.
On October 28, Colleen Bell, American ambassador to Hungary, pointed out the dire political and social problems Hungary faces today – problems it must solve. The speech, delivered at a university in Budapest, is not the first criticism Hungary received from its Western ally.
Orbán is interested only in cash, not in values. His disregard for values or (to make it sound more proudly) for ethos of Western democracy continues for years and is expressed in many constitutional reforms or a positive evaluation of the model of the political system of modern China. He therefore easily avoids the topic of Ukraine’s right to sovereignty, self-reliance in international politics and territorial integrity.