Expert Voices

Hungarian election a hobbled referendum on authoritarianism

A poster featuring Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban hangs prior to the upcoming Hungarian parliamentary elections on April 8, on March 17, 2018 in Budapest, Hungary.
A poster in Budapest featuring Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Photo: Adam Berry via Getty Images

Hungary will hold parliamentary elections on April 8. If Fidesz, the ruling party, wins as expected, it would be the first time since the country's transition to liberal democracy in 1989 that a party received a third governmental mandate.

Why it matters: Since Prime Minister Viktor Orbán came to power in 2010, Hungary has moved progressively toward authoritarian rule. A decisive victory would embolden his party to commandeer the remaining independent branches of government — the judiciary and local municipalities — and to further clamp down on the civic and political opposition.