Democracy in Hungary under Prime Minister Viktor Orban deteriorated further last year, according to an American report on the state of democracy in the countries of Eastern Europe published on Wednesday 24 May. In his Annual Report (in English), Freedom House, a US government-funded but independently run research organization, points out that the country’s score has deteriorated more than any other country in Eastern Europe, exception of Russia.
According to Freedom House, Hungary is 43% democratic against 45% a year earlier, while Poland is stable at 59%. Vladimir Putin’s Russia went from 5% democratic to 2%. Estonia is given the highest score, at 83% democratic, followed closely by Latvia, Slovenia, Lithuania and the Czech Republic, according to the report.
Since his return to power in 2010, the Hungarian nationalist leader has gradually brought checks and balances to heel, whether in the media or the judiciary, regularly drawing criticism from the European Union. The report denounces in particular the conduct of the last legislative elections, marred by“irregularities, abuse of administrative resources and distortions in the media”as well as “the growing intolerance of the regimeOrban for dissenting voices. The report draws a contrast with Poland, pointing to the “ruling party’s contempt for liberal democracy”, but by welcoming the massive reception of Ukrainians who fled the war provoked by Russia.