December 20, 2012
9.21 Inches (US)
6.26 Inches (US)
2.2 Pounds (US)
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v2.1 Reference

Constitution for a Disunited Nation

On Hungary's 2011 Fundamental Law

This collection is the most comprehensive account of the Fundamental Law and its underlying principles. The objective is to analyze this constitutional transition from the perspectives of comparative constitutional law, legal theory and political philosophy. The authors outline and analyze how the current constitutional changes are altering the basic structure of the Hungarian State. The key concepts of the theoretical inquiry are sociological and normative legitimacy, majoritarian and partnership approach to democracy, procedural and substantive elements of constitutionalism. Changes are also examined in the field of human rights, focusing on the principles of equality, dignity, and civil liberties.

About the Author

Gábor Attila Tóth is Associate Professor at the University of Debrecen, Faculty of Law. He is also Lecturer at the László Rajk College of Advanced Studies, Budapest.


"The Fundamental Law of Hungary that came into effect on 1 January 2012, and the political and legal contexts that led to its promulgation, has been generating headlines that fit in with a general perception of the disappointing state of constitutionalism and democracy in eastern and central Europe. This edited collection contributes to such critical debates, and it should be placed in the wider context of the trials and tribulations of the post-1989 wave of constitutional and democratic reforms in the region. The two main aims of this book are stated in the introduction: to provide a 'comprehensive account of the Fundamental Law's main attributes and its underlying principles', and to "examine a constitutional transition [in Hungary] from the perspective of comparative constitutionalism, legal theory and political philosophy'. There is a strong unifying theme clearly present in most of the contributions, and that is the exposition of the illegitimate nature of the Fundamental Law promulgated by the Fidesz Party, along with the danger that the current constitutional arrangements pose to the future of Hungary's democratic and constitutional development. Most chapters off er analyses of the processes leading to Fidesz's capture of the state, both politically and constitutionally, as if to send a general warning against allowing constitutional rules like the one that failed to prevent this process in Hungary."—Slavic Review


"This is an excellent volume which deserves a wide readership, beyond specialists in Hungarian or European law and politics. Its theoretical chapters are important contributions to discussions about transitions to and, especially, away from constitutionalism. The careful legal analyses in the latter part of the book show how what at first glance may look like a fine liberal-democratic constitution in fact contains deeply illiberal elements and potentially disables democracy. Given that many enemies of liberal democracy nowadays are eager to present themselves as good liberals or flawless democrats, such analyses are particularly valuable."—Jan-Werner Müller

"Constitutionalism as a democratic practice to safeguard human rights can never be taken for granted. This book takes constitutionalism seriously — it is a guiding light for Hungary and beyond, and a forceful, enlightened intervention in complicated political times."—Susanne Baer

"The title of the book says it all: a sad and dispiriting story about the ways in which the constitution of a modern state in the heart of Europe divides instead of integrates, excludes rather than includes, and entrenches the position of electoral victors rather than embracing all political competitors within an overarching constitutional framework. The story is told in different voices, from different perspectives, and with varying degrees of emotion, by the very best scholars in the field. For students of law and politics there is a powerful and universally applicable cautionary tale about the mistakes to be avoided and temptations to be resisted by a government if it wins an election and secures a constitution-changing majority."—Wojciech Sadurski
Central European University Press

9786155225185 : constitution-for-a-disunited-nation-toth
586 Pages
$115.00 USD

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