Following an inconclusive first round of voting, the Hungarian National Assembly has elected current President János Áder to a second five-year term.
In Hungary, the President of the Republic is a chiefly ceremonial position, one that is voted on by the National Assembly. In order to become a candidate for the presidency, hopefuls must receive the written support of at least one-fifth of all Members of Parliament.
A two-thirds majority is needed to be elected as President in the first round of voting. If the first round does not produce a winner, a second round of voting is held, in which only a simple majority is needed.
János Áder speaking at today’s parliamentary vote for President of the Republic of Hungary, with Speaker of the House László Kövér seated behind him (Photo: MTI- Szilárd Koszticsák)
President Áder was re-nominated at the end of last year by the ruling Fidesz-KDNP coalition as the government’s pick for the presidential post. His opponent in the election was legal scholar and former Ombudsman of the Hungarian National Assembly László Majtényi, who received the support of left-wing opposition parties.
In the first round Áder garnered 131 votes and Majtényi 44, while 24 lawmakers stayed away from the vote. And while voting is held by secret ballot, there are precisely 131 government Members of Parliament, 44 left-wing lawmakers, and 24 MPs belonging to the far-right Jobbik party (whose members didn’t even attend the vote), meaning that it is highly likely that the first-round of voting occurred along party lines.
As neither of the two candidates in the presidential election in parliament could secure a two-thirds majority on Monday morning, the first round of the election was inconclusive.
László Majtényi speaking at today’s parliamentary vote for President of the Republic of Hungary, with Speaker of the House László Kövér seated behind him (Photo: MTI- Szilárd Koszticsák)
In the second round, held 80 minutes later, Áder prevailed over Majtényi. Once again 131 MPs voted for Áder, while 39 voted for Majtényi, and 29 abstained.
As victory in the second round of voting merely requires a simple majority of MPs, the support of government lawmakers was more than sufficient for Áder to officially win selection for a second term as President of the Republic of Hungary.
Following his victory, Áder accepted congratulations and shook hands with László Majtényi. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán likewise shook hands with the left-wing candidate, and expressed his congratulations to President Áder on his victory.
According to Hungarian news outlet Népszava, the ruling Fidesz-KDNP coalition chose today, which is the earliest possible date for the parliamentary vote, for a very specific reason: it prevented Majtényi from speaking as a presidential candidate at opposition rallies on March 15th, the national holiday that commemorates the Hungarian Revolution of 1848.
Via MTI and index.hu
Images via MTI