Thirty years ago in Central and Eastern Europe, belief in an open society and a sense of reasserted national and indeed European identity seemed to go hand-in-hand. But that was then.
Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party has used its two-thirds majority in parliament to change the constitution, erase checks and balances, and make
the electoral system even more majoritarian.
Viewed until recently as an exemplar of democratic transformation, Poland is increasingly seen as a leading case of democratic backsliding, thanks to a series of illiberal measures pushed through by the Law and Justice party.
Recent electoral victories by a pro-Russian president and a populist prime minister point to an antiestablishment wave in the Czech Republic. Yet strong checks and balances, EU ties, and a different outlook among younger voters may help to safeguard liberal democracy.
The political turmoil following a journalist’s murder in Slovakia has revealed serious dangers to the country’s democratic institutions.