New book by András László Pap

September 4, 2017

In a new monograph published by Routledge, Professor Pap shows the rise and morphology of a self-identified `illiberal democracy’, the first 21st century illiberal political regime arising in the European Union. Since 2010, Viktor Orbán’s governments in Hungary have convincingly offered an anti-modernist and anti-cosmopolitan/anti-European Unionist rhetoric, discourse and constitutional identity to challenge neo-liberal democracy. The Hungarian case provides unique observation points for students of transitology, especially those who are interested in states which are to abandon pathways of liberal democracy. Prof Pap demonstrates how illiberalism is present both in `how’ and `what’ is being done: the style, format and procedure of legislation; as well as the substance: the dismantling of institutional rule of law guarantees and the weakening of checks and balances. The book also discusses the ideological commitments and constitutionally framed and cemented value preferences, and a reconstituted and re-conceptualized relationship between the state and its citizens, which is not evidently supported by Hungarians’ value system and life-style choices.


"Fittingly described by the author as ‘a diary of a constitutional scholar,’ this book offers an important critical account about key constitutional and political developments that shaped the emergence of ‘illiberal democracy’ in Hungary in 2010-11. The analysis reflects an impressive breadth of knowledge coupled with deep commitment to the principles of liberal democracy. The book should be of great interest to scholars, students, and policy-makers interested in the future of democratic government in post-Cold War Europe."

Zsuzsa Csergo, Queen’s University, Canada

"Pap’s fascinating and timely Democratic Decline shows how defensible laws and democratic processes can be used to construct illiberalism. Most interesting is how the Hungarian 'System of National Cooperation,' an ideology that puts the national above the political community and has parallels with other European populisms, impacts an incredible range of policies that serve to privilege Christian, middle-class families and protect the state against individual rights claims."

Stephen Deets, Babson College, USA

"As one of the first and most corrosive expressions of the antiliberal Zeitgeist proliferating across today’s world, Viktor Orbán’s "illiberal democracy" should be of concern to every politically responsible citizen in every struggling Western democracy. To understand what is at stake, no English-language work is more timely and more illuminating that András Pap’s original and biting analysis of Hungary’s plunge into constitutional antiliberalism."

Stephen Holmes, New York University School of Law, USA