Hungarians number about 10 million, many of whom are working - successfully - to improve local conditions and increase their personal wealth. Expatriates will find living in Hungary during this period to be a very interesting experience.
In October 1989, the Hungarian parliament adopted legislation to protect human and civil rights and ensure separation of powers among the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the government. At this time, the Republic of Hungary was established.
The Hungarian Constitution provides for a unicameral parliament of 386 members, the National Assembly or Országgyulés, which has the power to adopt or amend the Constitution and other laws. It elects the President, the Prime Minister (who is usually the leader of the largest party in parliament), the members of the Constitutional Court, and other important officials.
Executive power is held by the Prime Minister and his Council of Ministers. The president, as official head of state, has power and influence that go beyond the ceremonial. He countersigns legislative acts before they can be enforced, and may refuse to do so for various reasons.
In April 2010, Hungary held its sixth free elections since the fall of communism as new members of parliament were elected to the National Assembly. The conservative party, Fidesz, won an absolute majority and formed its own government, replacing the Hungarian Socialist Party, which had been the majority party since 2002.
Hungarians strove to reclaim a national identity after their liberation from Communist rule in 1989, and is now one of the standard-bearers for economic and political reform in Eastern Europe. Government-supported privatization, investment incentives and deregulation paved the way for a national revival. Boasting one of the most highly developed infrastructures in Eastern Europe, Hungarians are working hard to keep services and technology at global standards.
While initiatives have resulted in wage restraints and reduced social entitlements and services, they have also lowered inflation and encouraged exports and foreign investment. Hungary became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1999, and joined the European Union (EU) in 2004.
Like other European countries, Hungary was affected by the 2008 global recession. After a double-dip recession, by 2013 its economy was experiencing slow growth. Hungary's industrial sector is the main driver of the economy.
The capital city, Budapest, is a thriving center of culture, art, and music, attracting an increasing number of tourist and business visitors alike. After nearly a generation since Hungary's transition to today's free-market democracy, expatriates living in the country will find most people have embraced this change whole-heartedly.