The Renewal of Liberal Democracy: Vision, Strategy, Competition. Parties and Civil Society

The Renewal of Liberal Democracy: Vision, Strategy, Competition. Parties and Civil Society


The publication "The Renewal of Liberal Democracy: Strategy, Vision, Competition, Parties, Civil Society" has been issued by the Hungarian Europe Society in June 2023. 

Responsible for publication: István Hegedűs, Chairman of the Hungarian Europe Society (HES)

Editor: István Hegedűs
Graphics: Réka Elekes

Manuscript completed on 1 June 2023
All rights reserved. ©Authors. ©Editor.

ISBN 978-615-82312-0-6

Published by Magyarországi Európa Társaság - Hungarian Europe Society H-1052 Budapest, Gerlóczy utca 11.

The “The Renewal of Liberal Democracy: Vision, Strategy, Competition, Parties and Civil Society” project and publication was supported by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom is not responsible for the content of this publication, or for any use that may be made of it. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) alone. These views do not necessarily reflect those of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.



ISTVÁN HEGEDŰS: Introduction _ 6


ANDRÁS SCHWEITZER: Historical Causality and the Prospect for a Happier Hungary _ 10

ZSUZSANNA BODA – ÁBEL BOJÁR – DÁNIEL RÓNA: Defending Liberalism and Winning Over the Left-Behind in Hungary’s Illiberal Regime _ 17
Introduction: The new spectre haunting Europe? _ 17
Right-wing populism’s siren call to the economic left-behind _ 18
The way forward _ 23
Issue selection and central message _ 24
The use of language _ 25
Consistency of communication _ 26
Politicians’ profile _ 27
Conclusion _ 28

ANDREA VIRÁG: Where is the Opposition? _ 30
The bystander opposition _ 30
Substance over form _ 32
Visibility must be found _ 33
Who are they really? _ 34

ENIKŐ ALBERT: Rural Hungary _ 36
Composition of the electorate _ 36
Their view of the world, their media consumption _ 38
Media consumption _ 39
What are the lessons learned from the governing party’s winning strategy and what should the opposition focus on? _ 41
What could make a difference? _ 41


NATHALIE BRACK- RAMONA COMAN: How and Why is Liberal Democracy Contested in the EU _ 43
Introduction _ 43
Populism, autocratisation and undemocratic liberalism: turning points for European democracies _ 45
Defining the concept of dissensus _ 49
Dissensus as a normative concept: the essence or a pre-condition for democracy _ 50
Dissensus as an empirical concept: core dimensions _ 51
The actors and their goals _ 53
The nature/substance of the conflict _ 54
The expression of the conflict _ 55
Conclusion: a new research agenda _ 55

MIKULÁŠ MINÁŘ: Change is Possible. Lessons From The Czech Example: How Civil Society and Parties United Against Populists _ 62
The Story _ 63
Czech Republic 2017 - Democracy in crisis _ 63
Million moments for democracy _ 64
Two unions of opposition political parties _ 66
The election of new president Petr Pavel _ 67
Theory _ 68
The causes of populism _ 68
The application – lessons learned from the Czech example _ 70
Civil society - Million Moments _ 70
Political parties - Role, Responsibility, Strategy _ 71
Great personalities - Competence + Credibility _ 72
Institutions _ 72
Communication and education _ 73
Conclusion _ 74

TOMASZ SAWCZUK: Responses to Illiberalism. Lessons From Poland _ 76
PiS in Power: 2015-2023 _ 76
The Rule of Law _ 76
The State _ 77
Parliamentary Campaign in 2023 _ 79
The Opposition _ 79
Final Remarks _ 82

Authors’ Curriculum Vitae _​ 84

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