A democratic legislature in the making: The Historic Hungarian Elections of 1990

John R. Hibbing, Samuel C. Patterson

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Abstract

Changes in the rules of the electoral game in established political systems normally can bring about marginal shifts in partisan biases, but in the early days of fragile, new democracies, the electoral law carries great significance. The historic March-April 1990 elections in Hungary provide an opportunity to investigate the political effects of a system that merges single-member and proportional selection of parliamentarians. This system led to the impressive electoral victory of the Hungarian (Magyar) Democratic Forum (MDF). The authors analyze the electoral biases that contributed to the MDF victory and, by the same token, to the fate of the other political parties. They evaluate the electoral system in light of its probable consequences for effective democratic government in Hungary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)430-454
Number of pages25
JournalComparative Political Studies
Volume24
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1992

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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