Hungarian democracy deteriorates in 2015 says Freedom House

By bne IntelliNews April 12, 2016
Democratic governance further deteriorated in Hungary in 2015, according to a report released by US-government funded Freedom House on April 12.

On a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level, Hungary’s democracy score declined from 3.18 to 3.29 last year. The drop was primarily driven by the government’s anti-refugee rhetoric and an increase of corruption. Visegrad peers the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland all received better scores, as did Bulgaria.

The national democratic governance rating decreased from 3.75 in 2014 to 4.00 last year, due to "the government’s politically expedient use of the refugee crisis to re-establish control over the political agenda and stir up nationalist and intolerant sentiment,” the report reads. It adds that such decisions violate international human rights standards and undermine democracy.

The judicial framework and independence rating of the country also declined. According to the report, that is due to changes in asylum policy and the fact that institutional guarantees of checks and balances on government powers, such as the Constitutional Court and the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights are not independent.

The report also points out that due to several corruption scandals, such as the brokerage scandal and the lack of public procurement in the Paks nuclear deal Hungary’s corruption rating declined from 3.75 to 4.00.

Looking ahead, the report forecasts that the governing Fidesz party is likely to move further to right in 2016, as the party’s success is "strongly linked to taking Euroskeptic and anti-immigrant positions in the refugee crisis”.

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