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Society & Politics 3/2009

(Társadalom & Politika 2009/3)

Foreword of the Editors

István Jobbágy: The Effects of the Slovakian Political Institutions on the Election Results of the Hungarian Ethnic Parties in Slovakia (1990—2006)
Between 1990 and 2006, reforms in the political institutions of Slovakia constituted a relatively good basis for the political representation of the Hungarian minority in Slovakia. The favourable institutional conditions were mainly created by the proportional voting system having the following features: big electoral districts (or one national), zero (or low) electoral threshold, relatively large number of parliamentary seats, the principle of the largest remainder by the distribution of mandates. Although, between 1990 and 2004, explicit electoral threshold and electoral districts (1990-1998) limited the proportionality of the Slovakian voting system, these limitations did not hinder the fulfilment of the parliamentary representation of Hungarian ethnic parties thoroughly, because they – through building coalitions – have been able to adapt themselves to the given conditions successfully. However, the possible introduction of a majority voting system in Slovakia would put the ethnic Hungarian political representation at a serious disadvantage. That is why the preservation of proportionality in the Slovakian voting system is a crucial interest of the Slovakian Hungarian ethnic minority.

Tamás Szabó: Parliament and Government: the Hungarian and the Polish Models of Government Compared by Concentration and Polarization
Hungary and Poland are two countries of the East Central European region, which have historical and political traditions being similar to each other. The post-regime change histories of the two countries also have several comparable – similar and different – tendencies. One of the most significant aspects of the transition is the political-structural relation between two branches of state authority, the legislature and the executive government. A crucial feature of these relations is the relative balance of power between the two entities – a feature that embodies itself broadly in choosing between a parliamentary and a semi-presidential governmental structure. A thorough analysis has to study the system of electoral regulations, the dynamics of the party system, and several features of the main provisions of public and constitutional law. The characterization of and the comparison between the governmental structures of the two countries in question are based upon the model of Martin Weinbaum and the joint model of Philip Norton and David M. Olson.

Political History
József Juhász: Hungarian—Croatian Relations Between 1945 and 2005
Hungary and Croatia have a common history looking back on several centuries of joint statehood – the conditions of their mainly friendly co-existence deteriorated after the clashes between the aims of the Hungarian and Croatian national movements in 1848. The following decades of the bilateral relations were predominantly characterized by conflict or indifference. During the period between 1945 and 1990, direct Hungarian-Croatian relations – under the “umbrella” of Hungarian-Yugoslavian relations – regenerated only after the 1960s in the form of limited economic and cultural cooperation. These relations gained political character and became more intense only after 1990, as elections in both countries were won by centre-right parties that sympathized with one another, and as Hungary became an advocate of the Croatian efforts towards independence. After 1992 – parallel with the integration of Croatia into the international community – a conflict-free relationship evolved between the two countries, with the exception of a few economic disputes. The development of such relations was guaranteed by political consensus in both countries. The intensity of the inter-state relations, however, falls short of what the mutually stressed political slogans of “strategic partnership” would suggest.

Political Theory
Hortenzia Hosszú: From Government to Governance
Political Culture

The objective of the present study – by outlining the contemporary changes in the theories of governance, describing the characteristic features of the Hungarian political-social conditions, and adapting the two to one another – is to create a potential interpretative framework that helps the understanding of the changes in the concepts and content of governance in Hungary since the regime change. The study consists of four parts. First, the applied concepts are defined. Second, the globally known theories of governance are described. Third, the Hungarian characteristic features are analysed. Fourth, the theoretical framework applicable to he Hungarian scene is outlined. The most significant finding of the study is that the conceptual changes and the changing content of governance in the Hungarian setting cannot be described in the framework of globally accepted theories, because the political transition of Hungary is socially incomplete and inorganic; instead, we have to take the specific nature of conditions – resulting from an alternative course of development – into consideration, and – with these considerations in mind – we have to create and apply an alternative conceptual-interpretative framework for our analysis.

László Öllös: National Discrimination
The political principle of national discrimination applied in Hungary has a specific impact on the policy of the Hungarian political class towards national minorities living beyond the Hungarian borders. The discrimination between different minority groups living abroad should obviously act upon the discrimination present in Hungary – in order to support its justness and correctness. When the unscrupulous ideological struggle and power struggle among the groups of the leading political elite of the Hungarian minorities in the respective countries, aimed at the complete extrusion of the competitors from the political and social life of the minority, is encouraged – or at least tolerated – by the political class governing Hungary, then Hungary not only supports the misuse of significant proportions of the resources of the minority for the political struggle instead of other social issues, but also helps to further shrink the minority leading elite, which is already much smaller in number and much more unprepared in many fields than that of the majority nation. Moreover, as its institutional network is weaker than that of the majority dominating the state, even this is being tried by the Hungarian-Hungarian struggle, which is not limiting itself at all. At the same time, we can state that the most important objectives of the Hungarian minorities can be ranged among the national objectives known since the turn-out of nationalism, but when evaluating them, we must also lay down that these cannot be interchanged, nor can they substitute each other. Therefore, Hungary should support each group and each objective in a way required by the given segment of the national life of the given Hungarian minority in the given country.

Pros and Cons
József Lendvai: The Slovak House
Márta Demjén: The Story of the Slovak House in Pilisszentkereszt – As It Has Been Being Lived Through by Us

János Kemény: The Presidency of George W. Bush – Viewed from the White House

Róbert L. Holndonner: /EP-Election’09(Hungary) – Or a Political-Educational Online Game and Its Political Science Implications

Contents & Abstracts