Local Democracy in Cities of County Rights  Cover Image

Helyi demokrácia a megyei jogú városokban
Local Democracy in Cities of County Rights

Author(s): Zsolt Bártfai, Gábor Soós
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences
Published by: MTA Politikai Tudományi Intézete

Summary/Abstract: The pilot research reported in this paper aimed to raise public awareness about the quality of local democracy about by evaluating and ranking 21 larger cities (the so-called ‘cities with county rights’) in Hungary. Without prior experience, the research could not be more than a pilot; therefore, the results must be treated with caution. As in most democracy audits, this one also conceptualizes democracy though two fundamental principles: (a) the popular control of political decision making, and (b) the political equality of the citizens in implementing this popular control. Based on this conceptualization, six dimensions of local democracy were identified through which the two fundamental principles are realized and which can serve as evaluative criteria for assessing local democracy: (1) rule of law, (2) transparency, (3) responsiveness, (4) representation, (5) participation, and (6) public sphere. The local democracy dimensions were operationalized in six complex indices, each of them composed of 2-5 indicators. Cities were ranked along the six indices as well as three combined indices: the democratic performance of local governments was assessed by merging the first three dimensions, the democracy of local society was evaluated by the combined index of the second three indices, and a ‘super-index’ was formed from all the six indices. The data needed for the research were drawn from various sources, such as public (local and national) databases, the official websites of the local governments, and two surveys that were constructed specifically for the purposes of this research. One survey was to be completed by local government officials, while the other by editors of the local media outlets (newspapers, radio and tv stations, internet-based newsportals)

  • Issue Year: 2004
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 223-250
  • Page Count: 28
  • Language: Hungarian