Political Transistion and Social Transformation in Hungary

Rudolf Tökés
1996 Revista CIDOB d'Afers Internacionals  
Hungary's postcommunist society of the 1990s is a work in progress revealing a prodemocratic yet economically unsure population coming to grips with the effects of a series of elite-managed political, socio-economic and institutional transformations. The country'sprocess of reconcilliation and change has been driven by strategies and choices that have come about between, on one hand, the public's expectations surrounding political freedoms, the market economy and the rule of law and, on the
more » ... law and, on the other, the nation's political actors'and institutions' capacity for systemic reform. From a "functionalist" and "geneticist" approach, this paper examines the legacy of four decades of communist rule on present-day Hungary, highlighting Janos Kádár's political regime, the "golden years" of socialism in the 1960s, and the National Rountable Agreement of 1989. While the accumulated effects of forty years of corruption, abuse ofpower and a diminished civic competence since the failed revolt in 1956 still influence the elites' attempts to bring about systemic stability in the nation, the emerging civil society shows confidence in free enterprise and democracy. However, this confidence exists despite the fact that the political candidates the citizens have to choose from are too often inept and constrained by the Kádárist institutional legacy.
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