Domestic Politics

Jobbik Insists President Of Hungary Should Be Elected Directly By Voters

The former radical nationalist Jobbik party, which has become known recently for its moderate tone to appeal to centre-ground voters, said it would not nominate anyone for Hungary’s next president but maintain its position that the President of the Republic should be elected directly by voters.

Jobbik’s parliamentary group leader János Volner (pictured above) said that the country’s head of state should be a person who embodies national unity, whose personality will not lead to divisions and who has no affiliations to any political movement. The group leader added that nobody had a chance to become a presidential candidate “without approval by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán” and suggested that Jobbik’s deputies should stay away from the “performance” in which the “obvious” winner will be the prime minister’s preference.

Volner slammed both János Áder, the incumbent president backed by the ruling Fidesz-KDNP alliance, and László Majtényi, whose name has been suggested as a possible candidate by the leftist opposition, and said that neither could meet any of Jobbik’s criteria.

Jobbik has made its position clear after green opposition LMP became the latest party to throw its support behind former ombudsman László Majtényi. Erzsébet Schmuck, the party’s parliamentary leader, said Áder was unfit to serve as president, arguing that he was “a party soldier of Fidesz”. Schmuck said her party believed that the office of president should be held by someone independent who stands above party politics and earns the nation’s respect through his or her professional acts. A president should also be committed to the cause of sustainable development and future generations, Schmuck said, adding that her party had asked Majtényi to incorporate these causes into his platform.

Accoding to Erzsébet Schmuck, Áder had committed himself to the cause of sustainable development in words only. She also said her party would prefer that the president be elected directly by the voters. LMP board member Péter Ungár said Majtényi had proved that he was capable of safeguarding the rule of law, which he said Áder had not been capable of. He acknowledged that there was little chance Majtényi would be Hungary’s next president, adding, at the same time, that “offering an alternative in itself is a choice of values”. The idea of Majtényi’s nomination was raised by the President for the Republic civil group.

Meanwhile the  opposition Együtt (Together) party said it would also nominate former László Majtényi for president. Newly elected leader Péter Juhász praised Majtényi’s merits in protecting constitutionality and fighting against corruption since Hungary’s transition to democracy in 1989-1990. The opposition Socialists (MSZP) and Dialogue (PM) parties have voiced support for the initiative and LMP’s and Együtt’s backing means Majtényi could have enough MPs backing his nomination to run for president.

In Hungary parliamentary parties can start nominating their candidates 90 days prior to the expiry of the incumbent president’s term, while the election itself will take place during parliament’s spring season. Under the constitution, parliament is obliged to elect the next president 30-60 days before the incumbent president’s term is over. President Áder’s five-year term will expire in May.

via hungarymatters.hu and MTI; photo: Tamás Kovács – MTI