What happens when voters in a democracy elect an illiberal politician? And what if that politician uses legal means to obliterate the political opposition, consolidate power and undermine pillars of a free and open society? Can democracy, in any recognizable form survive?

We are seeing this questions play out in real time in Hungary today, where Prime Minister Viktor Orban has systematically upended years of democratic consolidation with a decidedly authoritarian approach to politics.

Michael Ignatieff has had a grounds-eye view of Hungary’s transformation under Orban. He is a former Canadian politician and author who now serves as the president and rector of the Central European University. This is a Budapest-based graduate school founded by George Soros that has been vilified by Orban and his supporters. The Hungarian government has sought to shut down this university

Today’s episode of Global Dispatches podcast is a cross over with the new show How to Fix Democracy. It features Michael Igantieff in interview with the writer Andrew Keen.  In this episode, Ignatieff discusses the challenge to democracy posed by illiberal “democrats” like Viktor Orban.

How to Fix Democracy is an interview series in which prominent thinkers, writers, politicians, technologists, and business leaders discuss some fundamental questions about the fate and trajectory of democracy today.  The series is presented by the Bertelsmann Foundation, in partnership with Humanity in Action. 

 

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