Democracy Reporting International, a Berlin-based independent NGO, has just released a scathing report on democratic backsliding in Hungary, detailing a breakdown in democratic norms in numerous fields including courts, media, campaign finance, and public spending. According to the NGO, the data reveals that controversial reforms implemented by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz government have significantly undermined Hungary’s democratic checks and balances since his election in 2010.
DRI’s data shows that since 2010:
- The Hungarian government’s wins in politically sensitive court cases have jumped from 20% to 70% after the Constitutional Court was stacked with pro-government judges.
- Applications to have cases heard by the European Court of Human Rights spiked 1,117% as Hungarians have sought justice for their grievances. Hungary now has the highest number of pending cases per capita in the Strasbourg court.
- Four oligarchs and personal friends of Prime Minister Orbán have won €1.88 billion in public contracts in the past six years. In 2013 alone, these individuals were awarded 11% of the total value of public contracts awarded (EUR 880m).
- The government’s anti-immigration campaign in the run-up to the October 2nd referendum on EU refugee quotas cost four times more per capita than Brexit campaigns – a massive EUR 31.4 million.
- During the anti-refugee referendum campaign, state television station M1 led with the refugee issue in 93% of news programs and promoted the government’s position in 95% of news airtime.