This paper investigates current Hungarian political developments with the conceptual tools provided by elite and leadership studies. It develops an argument about the institutionalization of simulated democracy, which applies to social situations when democratic institutions exist but where their consolidation is hampered by the norm breaching behaviour of elites and other social groups. The article investigates the responsibility of leaders and elites in two sections. First, the failure of the Hungarian elite settlement is described. Second, the working of simulated democracy is examined with special emphasis on elites’ and leaders’ behaviour in connection to media law, the new Constitution and other current institutional developments. In the conclusion the authors make an attempt to connect elite and leadership issues to institutional developments and highlight some normative consequences.