How can a populist government shift a democracy towards an autocracy?
: the government of Viktor Orbán

  • Sofia Ferreira Vasques Carvalheiro (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


This research work examines how a populist government can dismantle democraticinstitutions. In theory, populists create a narrative of giving the power back to the people,however, in practice, populist leaders use this façade in order to centralize the rulingpower. We analyse the government of Viktor Orbán in Hungary as it is a working modelof contemporary populism in power. Over the last decade, Orbán has represseddemocratic freedoms, the independent media and has taken significant control over thelegislative and judiciary. The Hungarian prime minister keeps his democratic legitimacybased on the existence of regular elections. However, this thesis argues that a democraticsystem requires more than the condition of elections. Therefore, after the authoritariansteps that Orbán’s government has taken since 2010, Hungary has taken a seismic shiftaway from a democratic system.
Date of Award23 Apr 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorDora Gyorffy (Supervisor)


  • Mestrado em Governação, Liderança e Estudos sobre a Democracia

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