Barnabás Lenkovics has been elected head of the Constitutional Court in a parliamentary vote on Monday. Lenkovics was elected in a vote of 132 in favour and 6 against in a secret ballot. The lawyer and university professor has been a member of the court since April 21, 2007. He will start his tenure on February 25, 2015. His current mandate expires on April 21, 2016. Lenkovics has taken his oath of office in parliament and will succeed Péter Paczolay. While Barnabás Lenkovics’s appointment was backed by lawmakers of the ruling FIDESZ-KDNP party alliance, the opposition parties criticised harshly Lenkovics’s activity as member of the constitutional court.
The Socialist Party (MSZP) decided to boycotte the vote. Gergely Bárándy of the Socialists insisted that the only principle guiding the top court’s decisions “is to please Viktor Orbán”. The leftist Democratic Coalition (DK) said that “Lenkovics earlier was an exceptional lawyer who, in the last few years, has, regrettably and for an inexplicable reason, done much to solidify the power of the government which has dismantled the rule of law.” A spokesperson of the EGYÜTT party said that Lenkovics was ”unfit” to restore constitutional rule which has been eroded over the past few years.
The newly-elected president said he would protect basic rights and the rule of law in his post. Lenkovics said he was glad to have received two-thirds majority support, but regretted that lawmakers of Jobbik, the Socialists and DK stayed away. He expressed hope that there could be fewer curtailments to the scope of the court’s authority in future, as suggested recently also by Justice Minister László Trócsányi. This would improve the regard for Hungary and its constitutional court abroad, he said.
via hungarymatters.hu photo: Tibor Illyés – MTI