Party Patronage in Hungary: Capturing the State

Jan-Hinrik Meyer-Sahling and Krisztina Jager

in Party Patronage and Party Government in European Democracies

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199599370
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741517 | DOI:

Series: Comparative Politics

Party Patronage in Hungary: Capturing the State

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This chapter examines party patronage in Hungary. It argues that party patronage reaches into all areas of the public sector. Political appointments are relatively more important for the ministerial bureaucracy than for executive agencies and executing institutions such as state-owned enterprises. They are more common at the top of institutions, predominantly for the sake of politically controlling the policy process. The chapter shows that party patronage varies across sectors. Three patterns are distinguished. They are labelled as ‘captured sectors’ such as the Media, ‘partially disciplined sectors’ such as Finance and Economy, and ‘partially insulated sectors’ such as the Judiciary. The chapter concludes that party patronage contributes to the stabilization of parties and party systems in Hungary. Yet patronage increases corruption risks in the public sector, breeds popular distrust in political parties, and hence runs the risk of being self-defeating for the parties that rely on it.

Keywords: patronage; political parties; Hungary; state; capture; public sector; political appointments; political control; trust

Chapter.  10117 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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