The parliament decided on Thursday on the successor to President János Áder, with the governing Fidesz-KDNP nominating Katalin Novák, and the opposition parties nominating economist Péter Róna. As expected, Novák won the position. In his speech, Róna called for national reconciliation, adding that this could only be achieved through fairness.
Ukrainian war and Russian ties
Péter Róna thanked the six opposition parties for the nomination and said that the office of President of the Republic now carries far greater responsibility than usual. Referring to the Fundamental Law, Róna recalled the President’s dual role of expressing the unity of the nation and guarding the democratic functioning of the state structure. This is the cornerstone of the existence of any nation.
The opposition is committed to direct general presidential election in Hungary, and considers it “unfair” that the incumbent Fidesz-Christian Democrat (KDNP) majority decides on the next president representing national unity weeks before the end of its mandate, the opposition parliamentary parties said on Wednesday, a day before the presidential election.
In view of the current legislation, the opposition is nominating economist Péter Róna, “a compatriot who made a career in economy and finance while preserving his integrity and independent opinion, who always stood up for democratic values, always saw the education of younger generations as important and who never severed ties with his homeland”, they said.
Now that we are on the brink of another bloody war, which, similarly to the Second World War, has been started by a power that our government says it has close friendly ties to, where is the unity that can be displayed?”,
asked Róna. According to him, in the Second World War, our leaders, as the stooges of the German Empire, persisted to the end with destruction and bloodshed. Now, with Russia, we are once again unable to call a spade a spade. According to him, this is because we are afraid, we are anxious, because we know that we have something to do with what is happening next door. Róna finds it almost unbelievable why so many of us have not seen that befriending evil makes us evil. Such people who, for the sake of power, bid farewell to their own honor and even turn their backs on their former selves, said Róna, who all the while cast his gaze on Viktor Orbán.
Péter Róna and House Speaker László Kövér (Fidesz). Photo by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI
Róna thinks Russia and Turkey are not our worlds where the actions of our own opposition are met with brutal murder and imprisonment; we belong instead to the Christian and enlightened West since the time of St. Stephen, and there has been a huge social consensus that we Hungarians want to belong to the West. Our material and personal security is guaranteed by the European Union and NATO, he added, and asked: why should all this be thrown aside for the friendship of a Russian dictator?
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He also listed at length the horrors of the twentieth century and the lessons to be learned from them, the horrors that claimed the lives of Hungarian people, and then asked the question: would they have kicked our moral judgment to the curb?
Which tragedy’s victims should we ignore in order to achieve the expressive unity that the Constitution requires of the President of the Republic? He continued:
Do we really not know right from wrong, truth from falsehood?”
Hungarians and diversity
Péter Róna, quoting historian Ignác Romsics, also said that he, too, asks Hungarians to see Hungarians not as an enemy, but as other human beings.
Just as nature derives its strength, beauty, and richness from diversity, just as the destruction of diversity is the cause of environmental degradation, social diversity is the hallmark of successful countries.”
He also said that the suppression of diversity will surely lead to disaster.
It is a mistake to subordinate the sovereignty of man to the sovereignty of power.”
According to Róna, it would help a lot in guarding the democratic functioning of the state structure if the constitution – which, as he stressed, is a valid law, and therefore its rules must be respected – would also meet the generally accepted criteria of a credible constitution.
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He believes that the constitution does not provide a framework for the operation of power, but in fact “leaves the goat to the cabbage, because all powers, even the most pious, like to kick off their own limits.” It is not the Parliament that creates the Constitution, but the Constitution that creates the Parliament, he said, explaining that power belongs to the people and that it is only by exercising it that society entrusts legislators from time to time. As he said, entrenched power is a breeding ground for corruption.
What should not be allowed, according to Róna
Róna listed what he believes cannot be allowed:
- Those who have come to represent the people should see each other not as political opponents but as enemies
- Political and social inequality prevails in Hungary and divides society
- Hungarians living in poverty do not have access to adequate healthcare
- that the members of our nation are forced to meet their needs on less than 1770 forints a day or less,
- It is absolutely unacceptable that 30 armed men storm into a church and social organization that helps the poor (here he was referring to the state action against Gábor Iványi’s church and his NGO a few weeks ago due to their “suspicion of large-scale budgetary fraud”)
- 74% of Hungarians live below the poverty line of the European Union, while others “sunbathe on yachts worth billions of forints with prostitutes”
- “Families are being wiped out and made homeless by a corrupt government” because of foreign currency loans and other debts
- Thousands of teachers have to resort to civil disobedience to get the minimum they deserve.
“Let us reach out to each other, let us try to heal historical wounds, even if the other is weak, fallible, very different from us, or if he is going down a very wrong path,” the candidate said. As a free and democratic state, we can be happy and successful members of the community of European nations, he added.
“God bless the homeland, God bless Hungarians,” Péter Róna concluded his 15-minute long speech.
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Katalin Novák won the election with 137 votes, while Róna received 51 votes. Five invalid votes were cast in total.
Novák will take office on May 10th for a five-year term, which can be renewed once.
Péter Róna congratulates Katalin Novák, Hungary’s new president, after the voting. Photo by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI
Source: Telex, 24.hu
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Featured photo by Zoltán Máthé/MTI