Recent elections and referendums have been casted as a choice between establishment and populism. As more and more evidence suggests, these contests have been partly influenced by outside forces interested in undermining democracy through social
networks and fake news. But there is another problem with these contests and that is what populists do with their wins. Strong democracies are characterized by amicable change in power; today’s winner can be tomorrow’s loser.
Looking at the reaction of some of the successful populist politicians (which includes the Leave campaign) one wonders whether they play by the same rules. The governments of Hungary and Poland have shown clear authoritarian tendencies, trying to undermine
the independence of institutions such as the Central Bank and the judiciary, but also waging a more general war against non-conformist civil society, including the academic world. Exhibit A: The Orban regime closing the Central European University, under
the pretence that it was funded from abroad, as they dislike its main funder, George Soros.