A Little Help from the Constitutional Structure...

As mentioned above, the institutional structure set forth by the 1989 constitution envisioned a constitutional partnership, relying on a broad consensus that could not withhold the political cold war FIDESZ instrumentalized (Kis 2012 p. 19). The founding fathers (who, in fact, were mostly male) institutionalized the qualified two-third majority consensus for a wide variety of issues, and this has enabled the opposition to obstruct structural reforms for decades. Following the German chancellor-type model, the Prime Minister, on the other hand, could have only been removed by constructive vote of non-confidence, which in turn created a strong government with a limited responsibility to the strong opposition. This in practice meant that no incumbent government was ever removed. As Bozoki argues, the illusion of stability brought a plethora of informal practices as a modus operandi: tax evasion and party finance stalling democratic institution-building (p. 5).

It is not as much a cause as it is an illuminating signifier how deeply post-transition Hungarian politics have failed to fulfill the goals of constitutional partnership. Hungary has maintained a political culture that continues to lack commitment to substantive gender equality. Before the 1990s the ratio of female parliamentarians was at about 30%; after the transition, it has yet to exceeded 10% (Kover 2015b, p. 114). In 2007 only 18% of mayors were women: this number being the lowest among Budapest districts, with most elected in the strategically least important settlements - poorly founded small, disadvantaged villages - where there is no money, only lots of work.11

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