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The Paradoxes of Parliament–Citizen Connections in Hungary: A Window on the Political System

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The main argument of this article is that parliament–citizen connections in Hungary have been conditioned by broad political systemic features between 1990 and 2010. After a brief review of the institutional choices that lead to the current parliamentary set-up, the connections between representatives and the represented are mapped out by examining the level of trust in the legislature, the focus of representation, types of MP–voter contact and diverse constituency-related activities. Further, direct democracy opportunities and the role of new communication techniques are investigated before and during the 2010 election campaign. The findings confirm some paradoxes: although MPs' activity towards citizens has increased, citizens do not connect with MPs to any greater degree; or when direct democracy instruments reach out towards parliament, parties can be found in the background. All in all, parliament's role has diminished with vague representation and accountability patterns.

Keywords: Hungary; ICT; constituency connection; parliament and citizens; popular initiatives

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-12-01

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