Hungary: how likely is a change of government?

Hungary will elect a new parliament in April. For the first time in years, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, whose party Fidesz has ruled with a two-thirds majority since 2010, has reason to worry that he may not win. The long-divided opposition has united and its candidate Péter Márki-Zay is neck and neck with Orbán in the polls. But a change of power requires more than just votes, commentators point out.

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Polityka (PL) /

Opposition's hands would be tied even if it won

Polityka dampens expectations that the opposition alliance can be truly successful:

“Fidesz is still the favourite in the elections. ... Even if the opposition wins, it will face numerous legislative hurdles. The constitution, drafted by Fidesz and amended nine times, has increased the number of issues that need a two-thirds majority to pass. ... If the opposition passes a law from this catalogue without a qualified majority, the president can appeal to the Constitutional Court, which will probably declare it unconstitutional. The new government could only act within the limited framework defined by its predecessors.”

Népszava (HU) /

Orbán has dug in his heels

Népszava is sceptical as to whether a democratic change of power is even possible in today's Hungary:

“The ruling party can count on a sufficient number of institutions, from the head of state to the constitutional judges to the budget council, which are not necessarily willing to accept a change of power. Orbán did not tear down the democratic structures out of passion; his aim was also to ensure that he could not be overthrown.”