Constitutional restoration in hybrid regimes

The case of Hungary and beyond


  • Andras Laszlo Pap Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies; Eötvös Loránd University; Ludovika University

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constitutional restoration, Hungary, Radbruch, rule of law


The essay provides an overview of a debate that has been taking place primarily on the columns of a blog symposium on the prestigious constitutional law blog Verfassungsblog on constitutional restoration in Hungary. Given that Hungary is the poster child for hybrid, illiberal regimes, the discussion transcends Hungary and gives insightful additions to the illiberalism literature, targeting an audience beyond legal scholars. The starting point of the debate pertains to the classic dilemma of legal positivism vs. natural law, and in particular whether constitutional rules of dubious democratic nature can be replaced in violation of legality, for example in an extra-parliamentary democratic process. ‘Hybrid regimes’, or ‘elective autocracies’ and the phenomenon on of ‘abusive constitutionalism’ provide the framework and specific context of the constitutional restoration debate, as it is placed in regimes institutionalize ‘hegemonic preservation’, ‘authoritarian enclaves’ and ‘bionic appointments’ hijacking the vocabulary and imagination of constitutional democracy and entrenching legal provisions which remain beyond the reach of constitutional politics. The first part provides an assessment of the Hungarian institutional and political scene. The second part first distinguishes between three dimensions of the constitutional restoration-debate: theoretical, political and procedural, and subsequently discusses two focal points of the symposium: the role of constitutions in illiberal regimes and in constitutional resurrection, and the role of international and EU law as a tool for a legal revolution.

Author Biography

Andras Laszlo Pap, Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies; Eötvös Loránd University; Ludovika University

András L. Pap (JD, M.Phil., Ph.D., Habil., D.Sc.) is research chair and head of department of constitutional law , international law and legal theory at the Institute for Legal Studies and Associate Professor at Eötvös University (ELTE) Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media and Communications, as well as Recurrent Visiting Professor at Central European University’s Nationalism Studies Program and the National Public Administration University in Hungary.

Between 2000 and 2002 he was visiting scholar at New York University Law School. Having returned to Hungary, he served as Research Librarian at the Hungarian Parliament and visiting Professor at the Law Schools of Pázmány Péter Catholic University, and Széchenyi University. In 2004 he was appointed Associate Professor, in 2006 Full Professor of Law at Kodolányi College.

In the past years he participated, and in most cases acted as lead researcher, in a number of research projects commissioned by the EU, the Council of Europe, the Open Society Justice Initiative, the International Centre for Democratic Transition, and the Hungarian National Scientific Research Grant. He has been rapporteur for the European Parliament, regional correspondent for the East European Constitutional Review, expert witness at the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court, worked for the American Bar Association and the World Bank. He has been member and chair of several editorial boards for academic journals and a book series in Hungary.

He is a member of the Minority Research Network, the Network on Rights Equality & Diversity, the International Law Association, the Association for the Study of Nationalities, and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee.

He has taught over 35 courses, 9 in English. He has given over 55 presentations at international academic conferences and has published six books and over 200 articles.




How to Cite

Pap, A.L. 2022. Constitutional restoration in hybrid regimes: The case of Hungary and beyond. Intersections. East European Journal of Society and Politics. 8, 1 (Apr. 2022), 191–207. DOI:



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