Hungary's Pliable Constitution

Istvan Szikinger

in Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe Volume 1: Institutional Engineering

Published in print June 2001 | ISBN: 9780199244089
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600364 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Democratization

 Hungary's Pliable Constitution

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Describes the process of institutional engineering and the consequences of the absence of a new constitution in Hungary. As a result of the amendments passed by the outgoing communist parliament following the decisions made at the Roundtable Talks, Hungary has a formally old but substantively new constitution. This evolutionary approach has been warped by the formation of a parliamentary super‐majority that can easily amend the Constitution further in order to suit its political goals. The chapter points out the shortcomings of the Hungarian Constitution, such as the lack of protection from majority tyranny and no real progress in the field of human rights protection. The chapter also emphasizes problems in the political environment in Hungary and how it affects the chances for success in adopting a formally new Constitution. Political parties in Hungary are unable to integrate, or even to convey and express the legitimate interests of non‐partisan organizations, movements, and groups.

Keywords: constitution; constitutional amendments; democratic consolidation; human rights; Hungary; institutional engineering; parliamentary system; political parties; Roundtable Talks; super‐majority

Chapter.  10204 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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