POLITICAL AND HISTORICAL CONTEXT
Hungary underwent a democratic transition after 1989, following four decades of communist rule. The country became a full-fledged NATO member in 1999 and joined the European Union in 2004. Until 2010, Hungary was a prime example of a successful democratic and economic transformation. However, since 2010, Hungary has gradually become a competitive authoritarian state or “hybrid regime,” where democratic institutions exist in theory, but the rule of law and civil liberties are severely limited in practice. In 2010, the country scored a one in Freedom House’s Freedom of the World rankings—the highest score for a fully free democracy. That rating fell to 2.5 in 2018. Hungary was also downgraded to partly free status in terms of press freedom.