Nations in Transit 2019


Semi-Consolidated Democracy
DEMOCRACY-PERCENTAGE Democracy Percentage 51.19 100
DEMOCRACY-SCORE Democracy Score 4.07 7
Last Year's Democracy Percentage & Status
55 100 Semi-Consolidated Democracy
The ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 representing the highest level of democratic progress and 1 the lowest. The Democracy Score is an average of ratings for the categories tracked in a given year. The Democracy Percentage, introduced in 2020, is a translation of the Democracy Score to the 0-100 scale, where 0 equals least democratic and 100 equals most democratic. See the methodology.

header1 Score changes in 2019

  • National Democratic Governance score declined from 3.50 to 3.25. The democratic character of the government deteriorated in 2018. Parliament continued to rubber-stamp Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s agenda, passing contentious legislation like a June ban on homelessness with minimal discussion and refusing to submit to oversight by, e.g., denying the opposition quorum at meetings of the national security committee. In a troubling development, several MPs from the opposition were violently removed from the headquarters of the state broadcaster amid protests over an unpopular labor law that was rushed through the legislature.
  • Electoral Process score declined from 4.75 to 4.50. Hungary’s April parliamentary elections, along with several by-elections held in 2018, were free but not fair, according to observers. In January 2018, the State Audit Office, controlled by the ruling Fidesz party, fined six opposition parties on various technicalities in a series of decisions widely criticized as politicized. The fines impacted the opposition parties’ ability to compete at the ballot box, as did Fidesz’s abuse of state resources, including state media, for electioneering purposes.
  • Civil Society score declined from 5.00 to 4.50. The space for civil society organizations continued to shrink in 2018. Due to political pressure from the government, the George Soros-funded Open Society Foundations and the Central European University, left the country that year. Parliament passed the so-called “Stop Soros” package, which criminalizes “promoting and supporting illegal migration” and imposed a 25-percent tax on NGOs that engage in “propaganda activity that portrays immigration in a positive light.” Officials continued to publicly smear organizations and figures perceived to be critical of the government.
  • Independent Media score declined from 3.50 to 3.25. In 2018, the government continued to consolidate its control over the information landscape. Critical news outlets Lanchid Radio and Magyar Nemzet shut down following the elections, while news channel Hir TV was taken over by a Fidesz-aligned oligarch (Magyar Nemzet also restarted as a progovernment paper). In December, the owners of 476 progovernment titles donated their outlets to a new non-profit entity called KESMA for free; the merger was exempted from antitrust review on “national interest” grounds.
  • Judicial Framework and Independence score declined from 5.00 to 4.75. The government intensified its efforts to dominate the judiciary, creating a new court system under direct executive control whose jurisdiction extends to all “public administrative” matters. Following a conflict with Fidesz appointee Tunde Hando, who heads the National Judiciary Office (NJO), several judges resigned from the National Judicial Council (NJC), a self-governing judicial body tasked with overseeing the NJO. Hungary’s Constitutional Court regularly neglected to act as a check on the executive.

On Hungary

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  • Global Freedom Score

    66 100 partly free
  • Internet Freedom Score

    69 100 partly free