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Hungary - Presidential Election

Unsurprisingly, Janos Ader is re-elected as President of Hungary

Unsurprisingly, Janos Ader is re-elected as President of Hungary

15/03/2017 - Results - 2nd round

On 13th March the outgoing head of State Janos Ader, supported by the Alliance of Young Democrats-Civic Union (FIDESZ-MPP), the party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, was re-elected as President of Hungary by the Orszaggyules, the only chamber in the Hungarian parliament in the second round of voting. He won 131 votes of the 199 MPs present, whilst the opposition candidate won 39.

In the first round Janos Ader won 131 votes and his rival 44. 24 MPs abstained.

The date of 13th March, which was the first possible date for the organisation of the Hungarian presidential election (this has to take place between 30 and 60 days before the end of the head of State's mandate), was chosen to prevent opposition candidate Lazlo Majtenyi making his candidate speech for the presidential election during the ceremonies of 15th March, the day when Hungary commemorates the revolution of 1848.

The Movement for a Better Hungary (Jobbik Magyarorszagert Mozgalom), led by Gabor Vona, did not put any candidate forward in this election. The populist party supports the idea of the head of State being appointed by the people. "No one can win without the support of Vihtor Orban and the Prime Minister's candidate will necessarily win. Jobbik's MPs must remain out of this charade," declared Janos Volnert, the group's parliamentary leader.

A poll by Nezopont recently revealed that nearly 2/3 of Hungarians (63%) supported the re-election of the outgoing President.

Both candidates were able to speak for fifteen minutes before the election. "It was an exceptional opportunity to speak of free Hungary, of the future of the fourth Republic which aims for each person to have the same rights and in which independent institutions control the State and protect citizens' rights and interests," declared Laszlo Majtenyi.

For his part, Janos Ader thanked parliament for having approved the Paris Agreements on climate change and stressed the importance of defending Hungarian interests abroad. "I would like to continue my work in line with the values and the principles that I believed in five years ago. Here in parliament, I said that as President, both at home and abroad, I would be the spokesperson of Hungarian interests and values," stressed the outgoing Head of State.

Who is Janos Ader?

The Alliance of Young Democrats-Civic Union decided at the end of December to support Janos Ader for a second term as head of State. On 16th February he won the unanimous support of the party's MPs.

Aged 57, Janos Ader, who comes from Csorna, a town situated near the Austrian border is a graduate of the Lorand Eotvos University of Budapest. Between 1986 and 1990 he worked as a research assistant at the Institute for Sociological Research at the Academy of Science of Hungary.

In 1988, he was one of the founders of the Alliance of Young Democrats-Civic Union of which he was interim chair in 2002 and 2003. Regularly elected MP as of 1990 he was leader of parliament between 1998 and 2002 during Viktor Orban's first term as Prime Minister then leader of the parliamentary group of the Alliance of Young Democrats-Civic Union between 2002 and 2006.

Janos Ader was elected MEP in 2009 before being appointed to replace Pal Schmitt, who was involved in a plagiarism scandal, as President of Hungary on 2nd May 2012.

The Presidential Role

The President of Hungary is elected in a secret ballot for a five year term in office by the 199 members of the Orszaggyules, the only chamber in Parliament at least 30 days before the end of the mandate of the outgoing head of State. A 2/3 majority is required to be elected in the first round of the election, the simple majority in the second round. Those standing for the supreme office must be aged 35.

The President of Hungary can only undertake 2 consecutive terms in office.

He is the commander in chief of the armed forces, he appoints the ambassadors and the plenipotentiary ministers as well as the President and the Vice-President of the Central Bank of Hungary and the rectors of the universities. The head of State can attend the sessions of the Orszaggyules and its parliamentary committees, he take the initiative to organise a referendum, refuse to sign laws and send these back to parliament or to the constitutional tribunal if he wishes. He can also dissolve parliament.
Publishing Director: Pascale JOANNIN
The author
Corinne Deloy
Author of the European Elections Monitor (EEM) for the Robert Schuman Foundation and project manager at the Institute for Political Studies (Sciences Po).
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