Budapest, June 13 (MTI) – The 2014 Nations in Transit report by US-based think-tank Freedom House shows Hungary preserving its last place among eight “consolidated democracies” but the country’s rating went down from last year’s 2.89 points to 2.96 points.
Among the notable findings on Hungary, the report published on Thursday states that “without counterbalancing improvements, any further deterioration in governance, electoral process, media freedom, civil society, judicial independence, or corruption under Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s recently reelected government will expel Hungary from the category of ‘consolidated democratic regimes’ next year.”
According to Freedom House, Hungary’s multiyear governance decline, reflected in every Nations in Transit indicator, remains the most poignant reminder that democratisation in postcommunist Europe is neither complete nor irreversible.
“By the end of 2013, Hungary’s democracy score was one full point worse on the 1–7 scale than in 2004, when the country entered the EU,” it said.
The report shows Hungary’s national democratic governance score at 3.75, the electoral process score at 2.25 and the civil society score also at 2.25, the independent media rating at 3.50, the local democratic governance rating at 2.75, the judicial framework and independence rating at 2.50 and the corruption score at 3.75.
FH said corruption worsened in the region’s EU member states and — in addition to Hungary — Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia also got worse rating than last year.
“Even as the government has increased its influence over other public institutions, power within the government has been concentrated in the hands of the prime minister. Critics have alleged a pattern in which Orban, the leader of Fidesz since 1993, appoints not just party loyalists but personal friends and confidantes to key positions in nonpartisan state entities,” the report said.
“In 2013, the ruling coalition effectively completed its takeover of independent state institutions by naming additional judges to the Constitutional Court and appointing former economy minister Gyorgy Matolcsy as the president of the National Bank,” it added.
The ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 representing the highest level of democratic progress and 7 the lowest.
The Nations in Transit report is a study of reform in the former Communist states of Europe and Eurasia and tracks the reform record of 29 countries and administrative areas.