The Five Percent Minimum

In a political commentary on the recent resignation of Hungary's prime minister, John Horvath argues that the move is nothing more than a political ploy rather than, for instance, the tragic end of a political career. What caught my attention, however, was a comparison offered more or less as an aside in Horvath's analysis. He observes that the conservative and liberal parties are struggling for their political survival - they may not reach the "five percent minimum" necessary to remain in parliament - and states:
if this does happen, Hungary will then officially revert to a two-party system much like in the US. This, in turn, will be a testament to the degradation of democracy in Hungary since the end of communism in 1989. When multi-party elections were first held twenty years ago, there were a large number of different parties representing a broad spectrum of political views; nowadays, political discourse in Hungary has reverted to the simplistic bloc partisan politics of left versus right.
On a related note, the "5 percent minimum" has just consolidated the duopoly's strangle hold on politics in Nebraska: "Libertarians, Greens and the Nebraska Party are no longer officially recognized in Nebraska. The parties lost their legal status after none of their candidates for president or U.S. Senate garnered 5 percent of the vote, as required by state law."

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