Authoritarianism and Constitutional Identity: Comparing the Cases of Hungary and Brazil

Are there contextual conditions that doom a people to live under authoritarianism? This article compares two different constitutional systems, Hungary and Brazil, with a view to identifying the main reasons for the endurance of the Fidesz political project (for 12 years) and the failures, so far, of “Bolsonarism” in Brazil. In the context of the concepts of constitutional identity and the identity of the constitution, we discuss institutional factors together with cultural perceptions of the values of constitutional democracy. We argue that different constitutional identities can propel different environments for the survival and persistence of authoritarian and illiberal projects, with Hungary offering better conditions for them and Brazil presenting hurdles for their endurance. We conclude that democratic values should be linked to particular institutional characteristics that avoid the permanence of new authoritarian and illiberal political projects.