Democracy

Eastern European elections: the battle over liberal democracy

BY Jack Dickens | tweet jackfdickens   /  16 October 2019

Last Sunday’s elections were a mixed bag for Europe’s populist right. On the one hand, the Polish electorate gave an enlarged mandate to Poland’s governing Law and Justice Party (PiS) at a general election. With an increased popular vote and a majority in the Sejm now likely to materialise, the party have seen this as a huge vote of confidence for them to continue pursuing their socially conservative, Catholic, and pro-national policies. Their hegemonic position in the country, where they have passed laws to take party political control of the judiciary and the state broadcaster, looks set to continue.

Meanwhile, in Hungary, voters turned out at local elections across the country to provide headaches for Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his ruling Fidesz Party. The most significant setback for Fidesz was its loss of control over municipal power in Hungary’s cosmopolis, Budapest. Here, an opposition candidate backed by an alliance of liberal, left wing, and green parties won over 50 per cent of the votes, ousting Fidesz’s incumbent.


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