chapter  9
19 Pages

Hungary

The de(con)struction of parliamentary opposition
WithRéka Várnagy, Gabriella Ilonszki

The chapter follows the dynamics of government–opposition relations in Hungary between 1998 and 2014 and finds two distinct periods in this regard. Until 2010 a bipolar political scene with left-wing and conservative governments in place could be observed. Since then a predominant party system and dominant government and a divided and fragmented opposition prevail. While the transformation was influenced by the economic crisis which fundamentally hit Hungary, the chapter argues that internal developments – more particularly the transformation of the governing conservative party acquiring populist and anti-EU traits and the appearance of the extreme right and party fragmentation – contributed to this transformation. The predominance of politics over policy considerations in government–opposition relations is demonstrated by the apparent absence of policy divides. In parallel with the deconstruction of political opportunities for the opposition and challenging some of the foundations of liberal democracy, a more confrontational style in parliament and more opposition activity outside parliament are the features of the post-2010 years.