New Head of State in Hungary Likely to Be Appointed in March

  • 12 Feb 2024 6:24 AM
  • Hungary Matters
New Head of State in Hungary Likely to Be Appointed in March
Given Katalin Novák signed her letter of resignation earlier this week, MPs have to decide within fifteen days whether to accept it or not, and so this decision could be taken on Feb 26, the first day of the spring session, the parliamentary group leader of Fidesz said.

Máté Kocsis said that were parliament to accept her resignation — which he said he had no serious doubt they would do — then the new head of state must be elected within thirty days, so Hungary would have a new president in March.

Meanwhile, the Fidesz group leader said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s proposal to change the constitution with a view obviating the right to a presidential pardon in cases involving child abuse was “a child protection measure”.

Kocsis said it was strange that the left wing was vehement in wanting the head of state gone, but had failed to vote for any child protection amendments previously.

Nevertheless, he said it was likely that the left wing would now vote for Orbán’s amendment, “though I wouldn’t rule out the opposite either”.

Also, the second package of the child protection law will be submitted to lawmakers in the spring, he noted.

‘Mistakes Have Consequences’

On the right, mistakes have consequences, the Fidesz parliamentary group leader, told public radio in connection with Katalin Novák, who has proffered her resignation.

Máté Kocsis referred to a “rare political situation”, and he said Novák had made a responsible decision to resign and admit her mistake in connection with her pardon of the deputy director of a children’s home who had been convicted for helping to cover up child abuse.

He said in the interview that Novák’s resignation had been “a straightforward decision”, and he also noted that Judit Varga, who led the Fidesz list for the upcoming EP election, had also taken responsibility for her part in the pardon, when she countersigned it during her time as minister of justice.

The Fidesz politician said the left wing, however, had been mired in “a thousand and one scandals” in the recent past but had failed to take responsibility. He said the leader of the Democratic Coalition, Ferenc Gyurcsány, “should never have returned to politics under any circumstances”.

Kocsis noted that following Novák’s decision, several parties proposed electing the head of state directly. This, he added, had not occurred to the Democratic Coalition or the Socialist Party when their representatives were in government.

Dobrev: 'Let the People Decide on the Next President'

Opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) MEP Klára Dobrev has said that DK will start collecting signatures in support of a proposal that voters should directly decide who should be the next president of the republic.

Dobrev said in her Facebook post that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán decided who the previous three presidents of Hungary were, “and we all know how that turned out”.

First he chose a head of state who “plagiarised half of their doctorate thesis”, then he opted for “a signature machine bereft of their own opinion”, and finally he selected someone who granted a presidential pardon to the assistant of a paedophile criminal, the opposition politician said.

Dobrev said that if Orbán were to choose again, then an “unworthy party soldier” would become Hungary’s next president.

DK, she added, would propose that, like is most other European countries, the people should directly elect the head of state. DK will soon start collecting signatures and online and at street booths in support of their proposal, she said.

Párbeszéd Party Calls for Joint Opposition Presidential Candidate

The opposition Párbeszéd-Greens party is inviting the leaders of the “pro-republic” opposition parties to meet to discuss a potential joint presidential candidate, party spokesperson Richard Barabas said.

Barabas told an online press briefing that whereas his party had proposals for the candidate, what was more important at this stage was to show “strength” and a “way forward for the country mired in a moral crisis” by taking a joint stand.

The task of “the pro-republic opposition”, he said, was to show an alternative to the “corrupt system”, and “a political path based on truth, solidarity and caring for each other”.

Barabas noted that his party had called on President Katalin Novák to resign, adding they were glad that she had done.

“Prime Minister Viktor Orbán now could not hide behind the skirts of his former allies,” he added. Barabas said the Párbeszéd-Greens party continued to support the idea of electing the president directly as it was important that the “institution regain its credibility”.

Donáth: 'Govt Doesn't Care About Children'

The government “doesn’t really care about children”, Anna Donáth, the leader of the opposition Momentum Movement, told protesters gathered in front of the presidential Sandor Palace in Budapest on Saturday, adding that “for them the family is just an empty phrase”.

Donáth said society needed “strong female role models, but not like Katalin Novák,” who, she added, was resigning as head of state “but not for reasons of conscience”.

The Momentum politician said Novák “should have apologised to the children abused in Bicske”. She also said the government only saw people as voters, adding that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán also bore responsibility for the developments surrounding the case.

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MTI Photo: Szilárd Koszticsák

Related links

Watch: President Novák Quits After Mass Protest in Budapest Condemning Child Sexual Abuse Case Pardon

Paedophile Scandal: President Submits Formal Resignation Letter to Hungarian Parliament

Opposition Calls for Next Hungarian President to be Elected by Citizens

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