Presidential Power in Post-Communist Europe: The Hungarian Case in Comparative Perspective

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Journal of Communist Studies


Politics and Government


Presidencies in Eastern Europe and the successor states of the Soviet Union are a potential threat to stability: on the one hand they can be used in such a way as to increase conflict between the executive and legislative functions of government; on the other, they provide a possible means for the reestablishment of outright authoritarian rule. The presidential office can, however, serve a more positive role, helping to overcome political crises and providing national leadership. An examination of the sources of presidentialism in the Hungarian case and of the way in which the issue of the presidency has shaped political developments in that country, when viewed against experience in other countries of the region, indicates that the collapse of communism has created a political vacuum which strong presidences often arise to fill ? a political institution whose very attractions can also destabilize the political system as a whole.