The Consolidation of the Orbán Regime: Towards ‘Authoritarian-Ethnicist Neoliberalism’?

  • Adam Fabry


This chapter analyses the seemingly contradictory fusion between authoritarian state practices and neoliberal economic policies in Hungary under the Orbán regime. Since returning to power in 2010 on a popular backlash against austerity, the hard-right Fidesz-Kereszténydemokrata Néppárt (Fidesz-KDNP) government, led by the charismatic and dexterous Viktor Orbán, has carried out a root-and-branch transformation of Hungarian society. While officially proposing a break with neoliberalism at home and abroad, the chapter argues that the Orbán regime has rather deepened it, producing a specific variety of neoliberalism, which skilfully combines some of the central tenets of neoliberalism (maintenance of a balanced budget, introduction of a flat tax system, and the pursuit of regressive social policies) with ‘authoritarian-ethnicist’ measures that seek to co-opt, coerce, or manufacture consensus among subaltern groups in society against alleged ‘enemies’ of the Hungarian nation. While Orbán’s ‘illiberal’ politics have been strongly criticised by international and regional institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Union (EU), they have taken little concrete action against the Hungarian government. The reason for this is pragmatic: the Orbán regime has not only been a model for neoliberal austerity in Europe since the 2008 crisis, but also its authoritarian-ethnicist policies are not that different from those practised by other EU states.


Authoritarianism Ethnicism Fidesz Hungary Neoliberalism Viktor Orbán 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam Fabry
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Study on Culture and Society National Scientific and Technical Research CouncilNational University of CórdobaCórdobaArgentina

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