Hungary's Orban 'dropped any pretense' of respecting institutions, Freedom House reports

Under the rule of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Hungary is no longer a democracy, said the US watchdog Freedom House. The Hungarian government responded by claiming links between the group and billionaire George Soros.

Hungary has experienced "the most precipitous" democratic decline ever tracked by the US-based rights watchdog Freedom House in their " Nations in Transit " report, the think tank said on Wednesday.

The government helmed by conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban has "dropped any pretense of respecting democratic institutions." 

"After centralizing power, tilting the electoral playing field, taking over much of the media, and harassing critical civil society organizations since 2010, Orban moved during 2019 to consolidate control over new areas of public life, including education and the arts," Freedom House said in the latest edition of their report.

The country has now crossed the line from a democracy to a "transitional/hybrid regime," the watchdog said. Such regimes have fragile democratic institutions and citizens face "substantial challenges" to their rights and liberties.

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