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.
As representatives of civil society organizations, we oppose the hostile takeover of the office of the Ombudsman by the ruling parliamentary majority in Poland. We do not accept the de facto making decisions in regards to our rights and freedoms by the politically dependent Constitutional Tribunal.
While Western democracy is showing increasing signs of uncertainty, people look, with quiet admiration, to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. The power in those countries is in hand, stable and effective at affecting people’s behavior and actions.
Hong Kong is much more than meets the eye. Beyond the soaring skyscrapers and glimmering shopping malls, it is the only place on Chinese soil where citizens dare stand up to those in power and, once in a while, manage to force concessions out of them.
Ukraine has been going through ambitious structural reforms aimed to strengthen its democratic institutions and human rights protection, impose rule of law, and develop modern market-oriented economy. Customs reform is among key reforms in Ukrainian policy agenda in 2019.
On July 26, 2017, Marek Tatala, Vice-President of the Civil Development Forum, spoke at the U.S. Helsinki Commission briefing about democracy in Central & Eastern Europe, which was organized in Washington D.C. In his speech, Tatala emphasized challenges to democracy and rule of law in Poland, including independence of judiciary.
With no independent media, no checks and balances, no civil oversight, one of the most corrupt governments in the EU can expand on its already immense powers and get even closer to Putin’s Russia. But it is not too late to act and save what remains of civil society in Hungary.