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The ‘Insecurity Toolbox’ of the Illiberal Regime: Rule by Law and Rule by Exclusion

In: Political Anthropological Research on International Social Sciences (PARISS)
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  • 1 Associate Professor, Department of International Relations and European Studies, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary, akoskopper@gmail.com / kopper.akos@tatk.elte.hu
  • | 2 Researcher, Institute for Legal Studies, Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences; Assistant Professor, Department of Human Rights and Politics, Faculty of Social Sciences, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary, kortvelyesi.zsolt@tatk.elte.hu
  • | 3 Professor, Department of Human Rights and Politics, Faculty of Social Sciences, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary; Bolyai Research Fellow, foldresz@gmail.com
  • | 4 Assistant Professor, Department of International Relations and European Studies, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary, andras.szalai@tatk.elte.hu
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Abstract

This article scrutinizes the ‘insecurity toolbox’ that Hungary’s illiberal regime relies on in order to create an increasingly authoritarian system that sidelines the opposition and silences discontent. While authoritarian shifts are widespread, what makes the case of Hungary unique is that it involves a member state of the European Union. We identify three important features of the regime: (1) it relies on securitization by using an anti-immigrant meta-frame to justify virtually all policies and identify enemies whose presence justifies exceptional measures; (2)it applies law instrumentally and rules by law, which effectively undermines the rule of law and its guarantees against arbitrariness; (3)it maintains a screen of compliance with democratic and constitutional norms. While the EU seems impotent, or unwilling to halt this authoritarian backsliding, the Hungarian government feels it necessary to fake compliance with democratic norms by adopting policies that formally acquiesce to European standards but contradict them in essence.

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