In harmony with recent literature the article combines different approaches to describe how representation has become more complex while also more ambiguous in the process of democratic transition. First, with respect to parliament, the author argues that still a public bias prevails towards “direct representation” in Hungary (i.e. people assume to realize personal or local interests with the help of their MPs). In line with this, MPs—however strongly they are tied to parties—seem to pay particular attention to constituency representation although they are reluctant to report on their connections with interest groups or other interest organizations. Second, regarding the party dimension, it is found that although the national party scene in Hungary has remained unchanged in the past seven years, enormous electoral uncertainties and representation deficit prevail in its background and electoral linkages are weak. Parties are not well organized externally as demonstrated by membership figures and by the number of local organizations; internally, the major intra-party events (like candidate selection or leadership election) only vaguely reveal the representative dimension. Finally, experiences in Hungary thus far prove that the responsible party model cannot be applied at all: party programmes do not include clear policies and even if so, the policies often change during the electoral cycle.
Representation Deficit in a New Democracy: Theoretical Considerations and the Hungarian Case1
This is a revised version of the paper presented at the ECPR Joint Sessions, Bern 1997 in the workshop on Political Representation, and prepared with the financial assistance of the Soros Foundation under Research Support Scheme no. 181/1996 on Political Representation in East Central Europe.
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Gabriella Ilonszki; Representation Deficit in a New Democracy: Theoretical Considerations and the Hungarian Case. Communist and Post-Communist Studies 1 June 1998; 31 (2): 157–170. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0967-067X(98)00004-X
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