Hungary might be a bellwether for the future of authoritarian populism

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Viktor Orban.
Viktor Orban. Omar Marques/Getty Images

"For the first time in years," there's "real evidence" that authoritarian populism may be on the decline globally, Yascha Mounk writes in The Atlantic.

Mounk cites multiple countries around the world in which both right-wing and left-wing populist parties and leaders are either facing a backlash after in years in power or have seen their rise in popularity slow significantly. Hungary might be the "most interesting case," according to Mounk, and the central European nation's parliamentary election next year could provide a glimpse into what the future of the global authoritarian populist movement will look like.

Hungary already holds "special significance for scholars of authoritarian populism," Mounk notes, because the country was widely viewed to have "consolidated" its democratic institutions, which theoretically meant they should have been able to withstand the rise of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose leadership is often considered to be on the precipice of authoritarianism. Over the years, Mounk writes, Orban has chipped away at those institutions and gained control over Hungary's press, judiciary, and electoral commission — but now "the opposition is finally getting its act together."

Polls show Orban's ruling party is now neck and neck with "a broad ideological alliance," so if the latter camp winds up victorious next year, Orban will have to either ignore the outcome and become "an outright dictator" or "give up the office on which he seemed to have such a firm hold just a few months ago." Read more at The Atlantic.

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