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Bozóki András 
 Central European University, Department of Political Science (HUNGARY)
In recent years, somewhat surprisingly, the concept of “illiberal democracy” has enjoyed a spectacular renaissance. While this concept was originally defined negatively, considering it as valid description for countries lacking strong constitutional-liberal tradition, recently some autocratic leaders have proclaimed proudly that illiberal democracy was a positive notion. In the meantime, some scholars analyzed different forms of democracy including the illiberal one.
I argue that considering illiberal democracy as type of democracy is a conceptual mistake, because illiberal democracy in fact belongs to the hybrid regimes. Illiberal democracy might make sense in the grey zone between democracies and dictatorships an alternative setting to democracy. Careful empirical analysis of mixed regimes, like Hungary, helps scholars to avoid inflating the notion of democracy.
Since the end of the “transition paradigm”  which displayed an optimistic belief in political progress, analysts had to accept that the development from dictatorship to democracy could be halted or reversed. General expectations notwithstanding, the democratic upheaval of 1989-1991 did not end in turning all dictatorships into liberal democracies. Not only the countries of “democracy by default”  became authoritarian, but even formerly consolidated, liberal democracies could backslide to hybrid regimes, “combining democratic and authoritarian elements” . While the number of liberal democracies increased significantly, it is even more important to note a growing grey zone lying between democracies and dictatorships, where hybrid regimes thrive.
In the following, I will mostly focus on regime types and not on political speeches and supposed intentions of politicians. As we know, important as they are, political speeches often hide, rather than express, real political intentions. “Do not pay attention to what I say, but what I do” said Viktor Orbán memorably to the US ambassador in Budapest about ten years ago. Further, hybrid regimes, in holding on to the name of democracy, are even more likely to use public speeches to obfuscate rather than to reveal the inner workings of the regime. Thus, here I will focus on the academic issue, the grey zone which contains several mixed regimes and the place of illiberal democracy in this terrain. These regimes have been termed variously: as semi-democracies, semi-dictatorships, “guided,” “sovereign” or “managed” democracies, delegative democracies, illiberal democracies, liberal autocracies, electoral authoritarianisms, competitive authoritarianisms and the like [4-7]. As early as 1986, O’Donnell and Schmitter already recognized the existence of some transitory regimes, such as democradúra and dictablanda, based on the Latin American experience . It soon became clear that the defining democracy and dictatorship was not simply an “either-or” question, but a problem of “more or less.” Countries in the grey zone contain some elements of democracy and authoritarianism at the same time, albeit in different proportion. But even if it is a “more or less” issue, one has to be able to identify the Rubicon, a particular historical juncture or moment, which needs to be crossed at times of regime change. Even if it is true that dictatorships do not develop to democracies overnight, nor fall back to dictatorships with the same speed, still we have to able to find the borders between liberal democracies, hybrid regimes, and dictatorships. Even on the “more or less” axis, there are some turning points that separate the three different regimes from each other.
Hybrid regimes have the common feature that they all have competition, although the political elite in power deliberately rearranges state regulations and the political arena as to grant itself undue advantages. For all practical purposes, they are all beneficiaries of an “uneven playing field.” According to Levitsky and Way: “competitive authoritarian regimes are civilian regimes in which formal democratic institutions exist and are widely viewed as the primary means of gaining power, but in which incumbents’ abuse of the state places them at a significant advantage vis-à-vis their opponents. Such regimes are competitive in that opposition parties use democratic institutions to contest seriously for power, but they are not democratic because the playing field is heavily skewed in favor of incumbents. Competition is thus real but unfair.”  In recent years, somewhat surprisingly, the concept of “illiberal democracy”, once introduced by Fareed Zakaria  has enjoyed a spectacular renaissance. While Zakaria defined this concept negatively, considering it as valid description for countries lacking strong constitutional-liberal tradition, recently some authoritarian leaders have proclaimed proudly that illiberal democracy was a positive notion. It was presented as an “anti-core” voice of the periphery against the supposedly elitist, bureaucratic-technocratic, liberal democracy which favored the upper classes of Western countries. Illiberal democracy was presented as majoritarian, bottom-up, re-politicized democratic alternative to democratic elitism in which working people regain power from the politically correct (but socially less sensitive) elites. However, in reality, it did not lead to higher popular participation, or popular sovereignty; rather it resulted in social apathy and the nearly unlimited power of the sovereign leader. Theoretically, some promoters of illiberal democracy return to Max Weber’s notion of “leader democracy” (Führerdemokratie), while forgetting that Weber understood the salience of leaders within the realm of liberal democracy . Others offer a right-wing, nationalist interpretation of Antonio Gramsci’s theory of hegemony , as they believe that political discourse should be dominated by relentless propaganda. Some others refer to Carl Schmitt’s theory of “the political”, which states that the major constitutive element of politics is the conflict between friend and foe . They also like to reinterpret Ernesto Laclau’s and Chantal Mouffe’s understanding of radical politics  to highlight the importance of return to real politics of “real people”. This approach to politics favors virtue, community and the articulation of conflicts vis-a-vis the dominant neutralizing, legal and moral discourse of the liberal elites. For them, a large dose of populism is vital to reinvigorate politics, and the rise of populist democracies  should be considered as healthy reaction to Western democracies which reveal citizens as alienated consumers (and not spirited participants) of democratic politics.
However, despite all these efforts at justification, hybrid regimes, populist politics and illiberal democracies constrain the political activity of citizens and move in an authoritarian direction. The reason why authoritarian leaders like the concept of “illiberal democracy” so much is that it offers an opportunity for them to present themselves as (some sort of) democrats.
Even new dictators want to present themselves as democrats. Maybe “sovereign,” maybe “non-Western,” maybe “illiberal,” but democrats nonetheless. Despite their own role in destroying the rule of law, they make all efforts to convince everyone that they are elected by the people. Former autocrats were not so keen to insist on electoral legitimacy. The notion of illiberal democracy helps the new autocratic leaders to hide their authoritarian intentions as long as possible.
By attaching a variety of qualifications to the concept of democracy, to indicate its corruption, academic approaches make a desperate effort to ‘rescue’ the concept, and to stay true to some of its parts. However, this results in a situation where ‘too many cooks spoil the broth.’ In the final analysis, they come to describe regimes as democracies that, in fact, have nothing in common with the original meaning of the concept. As turned out, populism or illiberalism did not make the regime more democratic, rather less.
What shall we do with illiberal democracies then? Do they exist at all, in the first place? If yes, do they belong to the group of democracies or hybrid regimes? To what extent do liberal values – the rule of law, checks and balances, constitutionalism, civil liberties, separation of powers, human rights, and the protection of minorities – belong to democratic values? Does democracy belong to all citizens of the political community or is it just a property of the majority? These questions are equally important for political theorists and students of comparative politics, as much as they are for citizens. Is democracy a universal value or just a particular good? Is it a Western value only or are there non-Western democracies at all? 
Old problems seem to come back now.
What we have learned around 1989 is that democracy equals Western, liberal democracy. It is the only regime that is based on political pluralism, participation, competition and civil liberties. Therefore, several scholars rightfully questioned the validity of illiberal democracy as a sub-type within the family of democracies. In his essay, Jeffrey C. Isaac already mentioned some powerful criticisms of that concept by Jan-Werner Müller* János Kornai  and others.
The Hungarian political philosopher, János Kis** presents a similar argument. He claims that the key aspect of democracy is that even the minority accepts the legitimacy of decisions. This, however, happens only when the system is unbiased and when people whose opinion ended up in the minority remain legitimate actors in the democratic process because majority decisions are not used to disenfranchise the minority. In modern democracy, it is not possible to marginalize, neglect, or dispose of the minority; that is, there is no democracy beyond liberal democracy. Consequently, according to Kis, there is no such thing as illiberal democracy because an illiberal regime could not qualify as democratic.
If we operate within normative democratic theory, I agree with this. Those who systematically attack the rule of law can hardly be seen as defenders of democracy. The concept of democracy gradually changed and by today it has come to embrace the liberal and constitutional components. It is difficult to label any political regime as a democracy outside the world of liberal democracies, even if we know that democracy is never perfect, and that there are defective democracies that do not fulfill all criteria properly.
My approach is summarized in Tab. 1.
Others see this differently. Csillag and Szelényi  for instance, present an electoral democracy argument. They judge the example Orbán regime of Hungary as democratic because it came to power by democratic means and there is still a possibility of a change of government.
They work with a relatively low threshold and argue that one can speak of democracy when the legitimization of power is based on the will of the majority. They accept Huntington’s minimalist reasoning that free and fair elections are the sine qua non of democracies and, from the perspective of legitimization, the actual mode of governance is relatively less relevant .
The authors do not problematize whether the 2014 elections in Hungary lived up to the criterion of free and fair elections.
There were indeed some regimes in post-communist Europe in the 1990s that we can retrospectively label as electoral or illiberal democracies, like Slovakia under Meciar, Yugoslavia under Milosevic, Romania under Iliescu, or Croatia under Tudjman. In the optimistic mood of transitology, it was supposed that these regimes would develop towards liberal democracy. Since three out of those four countries are now members of the European Union, illiberal democracy could be interpreted as “child disease” of new democracies. Csillag and Szelényi primarily emphasize the fact that the leadership is elected by free elections. If this criterion is met, they deem the regime democratic, either liberal or illiberal. If the principle of free elections is not met, they automatically see it as authoritarian, which may also be liberal or illiberal. They consider liberal autocracies as being halfway between democracy and dictatorship while only illiberal autocracies are regarded as dictatorships by them. Their typology is presented in Tab. 2.
I certainly agree with Csillag and Szelényi that empirical reality displays broader varieties of regimes than normative democratic theory, and illiberal democracies can occur in the real world. But I disagree with them in considering illiberal democracy as type of democracy. In my view, illiberal democracy belongs to the hybrid regimes. If one accepts illiberal democracy as a form of democracy, then he or she not only denies the normative consensus on democracies but inflates the notion of democracy. At the end, we will not able to recognize democracies and distinguish them from other regimes. Isaac is right by stating that we need to accept empirical reality but we need to avoid conceptual stretching as well.
What people commonly call “illiberal democracy” is, in fact, an empirically existing hybrid regime, in other words, non-democracy. Calling it democracy might be academically misleading and politically disarming. To demonstrate the second: the concept is used in the political discourse of the European Union in a rather diplomatic way to lessen the significance of Hungarian and Polish deviations from mainstream European democracies. That appears to justify the soft attitude of the EU toward these countries, despite their disrespect to commonly accepted standard, liberal democratic values. As long as the EU considers Hungary and Poland as (some sort of) democracies, it will justify its own inability to sanction these countries.
Is it possible to have an increasingly flourishing autocratic regime in the European Union? After all, the Union was built on liberal democratic values, as a community with “ever closer” cooperation. Member states of the European Union are supposed to be liberal democracies, but Hungary, in harboring authoritarian features under a disintegrating guise of democracy, is rightly called a hybrid regime. As such, it is the first non-democratic member state in the history of the European Union.
In Hungary, the deconsolidation of democracy, widely perceived as elitist, started in late 2006. The opposition Fidesz-party, led by Viktor Orbán, behaved not so much as rivals but definitive enemies of the coalition government, as an already polarized political discourse became increasingly driven by hatred. The economic crisis of 2008 led to the political storm of the 2010 elections, when Fidesz received a qualified majority in the Parliament. Since that time, the quality of democracy steadily deteriorated. At the beginning, supporters of the regime talked about “majoritarian democracy” as if liberal democracy would survive unharmed.
Retrospectively, one can claim that the regime was some sort of damaged, broken, or illiberal democracy between 2011 and 2015. Democratic institutions were gradually less respected by the government but important democratic principles, listed by Jeffrey C. Isaac*** were still in place. These included open political contestation, freedom of speech, freedom of association, legal equality, egalitarian conception of citizenship, gender-neutral civic status, albeit all of them were somewhat distorted. Finally, however, the regime left “illiberal democracy” behind, and has been relying on increasingly authoritarian measures. The time factor is relevant: the book Hungarian Patient, which contains the term “illiberal democracy” in its subtitle, edited by Peter Krasztev and Jon Van Til  reflects on the political processes occurred before 2015.
Any serious discussion about broken, damaged, defective or illiberal democracies should consider the ever-changing nature of these regimes.
In 2016, when Hungarian citizens were prevented from submitting a referendum question by brute “civilian” force and with the government’s tacit consent, i.e., they were barred from exercising their constitutional right, it was time to ask the question again: Does it still make any sense to talk about democracy in Hungary? With its outsourced violence and its plan to amend the Constitution claiming a ‘state of terrorist threat,’ the Orbán regime took another step on the road to establishing a power monopoly in early 2016. Just as the far right Jobbik party once had a paramilitary wing, there were indications that a similar team of loosely organized thugs in Fidesz colors was about to emerge whose members, while not wearing uniforms, were deployed to intimidate demonstrators and members of the opposition.
For policy reasons the regime proudly claimed that its enforcement agencies did not use direct force (instead, it had come to prefer existential threats) and the job of intimidation has been outsourced to “civilian” street fighters, the ultras of some football clubs and others.
All this was not taking place in Milosevic’s rump-Yugoslavia at the end of the previous century. The policy perfectly fits the Orbán-regime’s governance strategy characterized by a deliberate effort to blur the differences between official and unofficial, responsible and unaccountable agents. Decisions are made outside the established institutions, behind their back, in an invisible and grey zone, in a world of shady organizations bearing no political responsibility or liability. Under this scheme, acts of violence that may embarrass those in power are performed by skilled skinheads that, in turn, can be easily disclaimed by Fidesz.
Similarly, the budget is not necessarily drafted by the minister in charge, but by private firms (acting as money-laundering operations, according to a former staff member) with no legal ties to the government, and whose members may also have access to classified information.
There is a point where even broken democracy comes to an end. At a point where the line between private and public interest is swallowed up, the difference between nationalization and privatization disappears, where public interest becomes indistinguishable from the interests of politicians/economic players capturing the state, where mutatis mutandis, the system ends up defending these entrepreneurs. Corruption is legalized. Hungary has arrived at this point: “What is called corruption is in effect Fidesz’s most important political aim,” the regime’s chief ideologist András Lánczi stated with undisguised honesty****. Today, corruption in Hungary is no longer seen as deviant behavior but an integral part of the system itself. Breaking the law has become the new normal. What was once described as the abuse of power, today has become a defining feature of the regime. As Bálint Magyar put it: “The mafia state is a privatized form of the parasitic state,” where the patron/client relationship no longer refers to the patronage system also seen in democracies; essentially, it is the “eradication of the foundations of individual autonomy and the shoehorning of all existential issues into a system of dependencies” . This already comes dangerously close to a definition of authoritarian regimes.
The concept of “mafia state” is one of the most consistent theoretical arguments to describe the regime, and its Orwellian communication can be used not only as opposition criticism of the regime, but also for an academically sound analysis of Hungary’s political system. We have come to a point where the Orbán regime has slipped the bounds of democracy definitions in the broadest sense, i.e., “defective,” “electoral,” and “minimal.” There are too many defects, elections are not clean and the democratic minimum is evaporating. Has the time come to take another look and reposition the Orbán regime along the political continuum?
I consider the centralization and personalization of power, the propaganda of “national unification” coupled with the discrimination and marginalization of underclass elements of the society, the forced change of elites by the predatory (or mafia) state, and the practice of power politics as the building blocks of the regime. The regime is rooted in the prime minister’s conviction that “revolutionary circumstances” mandate him to execute exceptional policies .
The Orbán regime of 2018 is largely different from its early days of 2010-11, although one can trace the origins of its authoritarianism to its beginning. It has experienced a gradual process of transformation since 2010. Excessive majoritarian arguments dominated its early stage of development . The first step toward illiberal democracy was the unilateral writing and approval of a new constitution, the Fundamental Law, by the governing party only. As a result, abusing its democratically legitimized power, the government has done away with the rule of law step by step. The best example of this is the fourth modification of the Fundamental Law in the spring of 2013: This modification made the Constitutional Court legally possible to disregard its decisions from before 2010 . (Similar processes are observable in today’s Poland, although the governing bloc does not have the qualified majority to change the constitution. Therefore, the Polish governing far right PiS party, led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, goes openly against the constitution in the hope that the castrated Constitutional Court will give them green light).
In Hungary, up until the 2014 general elections, the possibility of free and fair elections could not be excluded. Those elections, however, failed to meet the minimal requirements of the democratic process, due to the “uneven playing field” of the competition. Orbán’s statement on building an illiberal state, in July 2014, instead of indicating the launch date of a new order, had simply promised further measures aimed at entrenching his authoritarian system. By that time the regime had the unfair elections safely behind it and was just done with changing rules for municipal election in Budapest, just a few months before balloting. The system has undergone massive change over the years. By 2014 it already left the illiberal democracy signpost behind. Today, we have no proper terms to describe the phenomenon before our eyes .
The regime’s move toward authoritarianism has continued, which is best evidenced by some recent actions:
- Hiring of enforcers to block violently the opposition’s attempt at initiating a referendum and the public prosecutor’s failure to press charges. Outsourcing violence to football hooligans and paramilitary groups reminds the observer of the early Putin years in Russia.
- The state’s vehement anti-immigrant propaganda campaign during the government- initiated referendum in 2016 as well as in the electoral campaign of 2018.
- By using its overwhelming political and economic power, the government closed the biggest left-liberal daily newspaper, the Népszabadság.
- The attempt to close down the Budapest-based Hungarian-American private university, the Central European University.
- The aggressive handling of civic organizations. As an official of the governing party declared, independent NGOs “must be swept out of Hungarian public life” because they interlope in politics. This statement was followed by discriminatory legislation against NGOs, which had received foreign funds.
The language used by the regime serves to hide reality. Propagandistic mass communication, a questionnaire sent to all citizens with a set of biased or manipulative questions, is called “national consultation.” With this, the primary goal of Fidesz was to refresh the list of its supporters. “Protection” stands for the collection of protection money. In reality, the “defense” of retirement benefits means the requisitioning of pensions by the state. Utility-cost cuts have led to higher prices and deteriorating services. The protection of the Hungarian people has resulted in the impoverishment of large segments of the population. As corruption became the norm and a part of daily routine, it has become invisible to the public. Apart from public works programs for the poorest of the poor, utility-cost cuts benefiting the well-off, and a flat tax, the system gains legitimacy through investments demonstrating the symbolic power of the ruling elite (e.g. the prime minister’s new office, which is a palace on the Castle Hill in Buda, nationalist campaigns and government-generated xenophobia).
The Orbán regime gradually evolved from its larval stage and today it stands fully formed (if we can talk about “full formation” at all) . This is not to suggest that the leader of the regime follows a pre-calculated blueprint. The authoritarian direction was clear, but there were lots of incidental events, spontaneous reactions, contradictory policies, and periods of slower or faster speed of change, as the political situation allowed. Since 2014 the main problem with the regime is not only that it is illiberal, but that it is increasingly anti-democratic.
Moreover, due to the constraining power of the European Union, by now the Orbán regime appears to be relatively more liberal than democratic. The EU is more equipped to sanction deviations in human rights than the deconstruction of democracy. In this regime, a few fundamental rights (freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, right to privacy, freedom of movement) remain protected despite the autocratic monopolization of politics. In essence, it is an emerging authoritarian setup which could be moderately tamed by the European Union with regard to basic human rights and civil liberties*****. In other words, the international embeddedness of the Orbán-regime hinders, or makes slower, its slide toward authoritarianism.
Because of this external constraint, the leaders of the Orbán-regime have been forced to engage in Janus-faced methods, double talk, double standards, and pay lip service to democratic values, in short, to pursue a hypocritical behavior that they would not do under other circumstances. The government tries to justify their anti-democratic policies by appealing to democratic norms, which softens the autocratic nature of the regime. The regime uses a rhetoric that exploits xenophobia, a nationalist interpretation of Christianity , so as to throw off the European Union’s liberal democratic rule of law with limited success. Lately, the developments in politics abroad, particularly in Turkey and Russia, encourage the opponents of pluralist democracy further to eliminate the liberal elements of the regime.
In sum, the Orbán regime could be described as a hybrid regime with mafia state structure, unorthodox economic policy that serves social inequality, ethno-nationalism, and re- feudalization. The regime could be called competitive authoritarianism provided it allowed genuine competition – which it does not, however. There is a dominant party-system with limited competition and elections are held without real options. While opposition forces may win in several electoral districts in by-elections, their hope for victory in the general elections is much constrained. The ruling political clique combines political and economic tools to maintain its power, yet it lacks the intellectual and moral support of the largest part of society.
The regime relies on its political loyalists, while it divides and neutralizes its potential opponents, no matter whether they are passive or active .
It appears the downward spiral continues, regardless the country’s membership in the European Union. The Hungarian politics of “worst practices” is quickly copied by Kaczynski and the Szydlo cabinet in Poland. When citizens’ constitutional rights for initiating a referendum are denied even on the apparently trivial issue of whether retail stores should stay open on Sunday, what arsenal would the governing forces deploy should their hold on power be threatened? Perhaps we need to reverse the premise of our analysis: Instead of trying to understand why Hungarian democracy is illiberal, let’s study what makes this European autocracy so liberal.
Finally, we need to understand the spread of authoritarian epidemic and the place of illiberal democracy in the grey zone. For me, illiberal democracy is not so much a popular political project, but a relatively rare empirical configuration among the hybrid regimes. It is a fluid and relatively less authoritarian and less violent regime type among the hybrid regimes which, in the case of formerly democratic countries, appears as part of de-democratization. The contradictory character of illiberal democracy can also be explained by the real tension between internal and external forces within certain international organizations (such as the EU). Illiberal democracy might be described as a temporary co-existence of overlapping political structures that contradict to each other. They might have the following characteristics:
- The regime is led by an authoritarian leader who comes to power by elections, and who is supported by similarly authoritarian-minded leaders internationally;
- The leader creates a highly personalist, informal, centralized, vertically operating system of rule in which loyalty overrides expertise, and where social autonomies (like independent media and independent groups of civil society) are considered dangerous;
- The political clique, that occupies the state from inside, might behave as an adopted political family including formal party-members and loyal clientele selectively;
- The regime is in a constant flux, a “moving target,” where consolidation is improbable. In the lack of external constraint, the regime is often transitory on the road to full authoritarianism (as the case of Russia suggests);
- The leader, who speaks in the name of the native people, condemns international elites (European Union politicians, multi-national business circles etc.) and foreign migrants, and considers them enemies;
- However, an illiberal leader prefers “clean” and not openly violent methods, just as regular (but unfair) elections, to secure his long-term rule and to be able to present himself as a sort of “democrat” internationally;
- The regime promises to re-politicize the public sphere and to mobilize the political community, but it ends up with no politics just central propaganda and confused, chaotic public administration. The so-called “strong state” is in fact a mafia state where corruption is not external or deviant, but it is an embedded, legislated and networked phenomenon;
- The regime is rather based itself on fears and traditional mentalities of citizens rather than any coherent ideology;
- Leaders of illiberal democracy, just as of any hybrid regime, learn from each other: similar autocratic methods and narratives are circulating among themselves (sometimes called as autocracy promotion);
- Yet, there are a lot of spontaneous actions, accidental and unpredictable events that occur in such regimes. Although authoritarian leaders learn from each other, they do not necessarily implement the same blueprint or follow a pre-calculated political project;
- Politics is more complicated for authoritarian leaders if their country belongs to a community of democratic states. Subsidiarity principle, formal commitment to basic democratic values, multi-level governance, institutional cooperation etc., which all exist in the European Union, are external factors that condition the behavior of the national leader. At this point the leader of an illiberal regime enters a cynical and hypocritical game with representatives of the international community by taking the available material benefits from the common basket whilst disrespecting the common democratic norms;
- In the post-communist context, illiberal democracy often includes rough redistribution of property among the old and new elites. Members of the new power elite use legislation to renationalize private property temporarily in order to reprivatize it for themselves and their clients afterwards.
To conclude in one sentence: Illiberal democracy sounds like an oxymoron theoretically, yet it might exist in the real world as a fluid, non-crystallized, and often externally constrained setup among the hybrid regimes.
* Müller, J.W. (2016). The Problem with Illiberal Democracy. Project Syndicate, January 21., available at https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/the-problem-with-illiberal-democracy-by-jan-werner-mueller- 2016-01?barrier=accessreg.
** Kis J. (2014). Illiberális demokrácia nem létezik [Illiberal Democracy Does Not Exist] Hvg.hu, November 24., available at http://hvg.hu/velemeny/20141124_Kis_Janos_illiberalis_demokracia_nem.
*** Isaac J. (2017). Is There Illiberal Democracy? A Problem with No Semantic Solution, Public Seminar, July 12, available at http://www.publicseminar.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Isaac-Jeffrey-Is-There-Illiberal- Democracy-Public-Seminar.pdf
**** Lánczi, A. (2015). Viccpártok színvonalán áll az ellenzék [The Opposition Is Like a Joke] (Interview by Imre Czirják) Magyar Idők, December 21, available at https://magyaridok.hu/belfold/lanczi-andras-viccpartok- szinvonalan-all-az-ellenzek-243952/
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 Bueno de Mesquita, B., Smith, A. (2011). The Dictator’s Handbook. Public Affairs, New York, ISBN-13:978-1610391849.