When foreign ministers from 106 nations met in June 2000 to sign the Warsaw Declaration Toward a Community of Democracies, Hungary was a poster child for the Community’s vision. The country’s emergence from Soviet dominance and rapid democratic development confirmed the conventional wisdom that democracy was the only legitimate form of government — and that the 21st century would see the establishment of a new democratic world order. In 2011, Hungary joined the governing council of the Community of Democracies. But at a U.N. meeting last month, the Community set in motion a process that could result in Hungary’s removal from the council and withdrawal from the Community. If Hungary leaves, it will be an international acknowledgement that the nation has ceased to be a democracy.
The Community of Democracies, one of the world’s leading democracy clubs, is an intergovernmental coalition of states committed to cultivating democratic values and institutions. It supports member nations at various stages of democratic development by promoting discussion and identifying best practices. The Community touts its founding document, the Warsaw Declaration, as “one of the most complete and coherent documents on democracy,” and declares its intention to support democratic transition and consolidation worldwide.