Tainted Democracy – Viktor Orbán and the Subversion of Hungary w/ Mary Kaldor, Luke Cooper, Salil Shetty & Zsuzsanna Szelényi
Join Tainted Democracy author Zsuzsanna Szelényi in conversation with Mary Kaldor, Luke Cooper and Salil Shetty.
Hungary, once the poster-child of liberal democracy, is fast becoming an autocracy under Viktor Orbán. After winning an absolute majority in 2010, Orbán launched a series of ‘reforms’, fundamentally undermining the country’s twenty-year, post-Cold War liberal consensus.
Zsuzsanna Szelényi, a leading member of Orbán’s Fidesz in its early years, has witnessed first-hand the party’s shift from liberalism to populist nationalism. Offering an insider’s account of Fidesz’s evolution since its creation, she explains how the party rose to leadership of the country under Orbán and made sweeping legal, political and economic changes to solidify its grip on power—from reining in the public media to slashing the number of parliamentary seats. She answers a key question: why has Orbán been so successful, winning widespread support within Hungary and wielding considerable influence in European politics? And how can Hungary’s opposition party Together, which she co-founded in 2014, work to turn the country around?
Underpinned by Szelényi’s own experiences at the heart of Hungarian politics, Tainted Democracy offers accessible, nuanced insights into the global rise of populist autocracy—and how it can be challenged.
This event is hosted by the Conflict and Civicness Research Group.
About the author
Zsuzsanna Szelényi is a Hungarian politician and foreign policy specialist. In the 1990s, she was an activist and MP for Fidesz, then a liberal anti-Communist party. After working at the Council of Europe for fifteen years, she returned to politics in 2012, representing the liberal opposition in Parliament.RSVP