Since the elections in 2010, the current governing party has systematically undermined the rule of law in Hungary, seriously disrupting the system of checks and balances. The adoption of the new constitution without the consent of the opposition and the widely criticized media regulation were followed by legislative steps weakening independent institutions (e.g. the Constitutional Court, the judiciary and the Ombudsman system) and violating human rights (e.g. the right to fair trial) in mass numbers. These legislative steps were accompanied by the early removal of leaders of independent institutions and the “court-packing” of the Constitutional Court. As shown by the international criticism e.g. on behalf of the European Union and the Council of Europe, several rules adopted by the governing majority are not in compliance with democratic values and international standards. The series of governmental attacks against Hungarian NGOs, which organizations operate by their nature as checks and critics of the state power and fight for reinforcing the rule of law and ensuring the protection of human rights, is another step in the process aimed at establishing an “illiberal state”.
The Eötvös Károly Institute, the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and Transparency International Hungary prepared the timeline of the governmenttal attacks in English, which was disseminated, among others, to MEPs with a view to the European Parliament hearing “Democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights in Hungary” on 21 October 2014 in Strasbourg.
The timeline can be downloaded here:
László Majtényi’s essay in Élet és Irodalom on 2 Februar 2018.