Variations in the Expert Ministerial Framework in Hungary and Romania: Personal and Institutional Explanations

  • Gabriella Ilonszki
  • Laurentiu Stefan
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Political Leadership book series (PSPL)


The chapter explores the ‘ministerial condition’ in two new democracies that represent dissimilar cases in terms of their pre-democratic legacy, party institutionalization patterns and constitutional framework. The hypotheses formulated on these grounds have been partially confirmed. In Romania, after the troubled first years of democratization, the stabilization of parties resulted in the diminishing number of expert ministers, which only slightly increased during the crisis years, while in Hungary, despite the seemingly well-cemented parties, expert ministers prevail in large proportions. Despite the semi-presidential constitutional framework presidents in Romania have had to face and increasingly acknowledge evolving party interests and prime ministerial ambitions to control ministerial nominations. At the same time, in the Hungarian parliamentary system, the prime ministers used the constitutional opportunity to nominate ‘her ministers’ thus gaining independence from her parties often connected to policies as well. These conditions resulted in much higher dependence and dismissal levels of expert ministers in Hungary than in Romania, as well as in their different portfolio profiles. The chapter confirms the impact of the pre-democratic legacies: Expert ministers often connect to how things operated in the past in the educational system or in state bureaucracy.


Hungary Party institutionalization Romania Executive Dismissal rates Portfolio allocation Pre-democratic legacy 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriella Ilonszki
    • 1
  • Laurentiu Stefan
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Political Science, Corvinus University of BudapestBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Centre for Public PoliciesWest University of TimișoaraTimișoaraRomania

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