Hungarian Parliament Approves Tamas Sulyok as President Amidst Political Crisis

Hungary’s parliament has given its approval for the appointment of Tamas Sulyok, a 67-year-old Constitutional Court chief, as the country’s new president. This decision comes in the wake of the resignation of his predecessor, Katalin Novak, who caused public outrage by pardoning an individual convicted in a child abuse case. The scandal surrounding Novak’s actions has triggered the most significant political crisis faced by Prime Minister Viktor Orban since his return to power in 2010.

Novak, an ally of Orban, stepped down from her position earlier this month after it was revealed that she had granted a pardon to an accomplice of a convicted child abuser. The incident has sparked widespread protests in Hungary, with tens of thousands of people expressing their discontent. The ruling party, Fidesz, nominated Tamas Sulyok, the head of the Constitutional Court, as Novak’s replacement. Despite criticism from the opposition, Sulyok’s appointment was approved by the parliament, where Fidesz holds a two-thirds majority in coalition with the Christian Democratic People’s Party.

Sulyok, who is relatively unknown to the general public, became a judge of the Constitutional Court in 2014 and assumed the role of its head two years later. The opposition has voiced concerns over his lack of political experience. In response to the controversy, four opposition parties organized a protest on Sunday, demanding direct presidential elections. However, it is important to note that the presidency in Hungary is largely ceremonial.

The scandal involving Novak unfolded when news site 444 revealed that she had pardoned a former deputy director of a children’s home in 2021. This individual had been sentenced to three years and four months in prison for aiding in the cover-up of his superior’s sexual abuse of children and adolescents at the facility. The public outcry against the presidential pardon has been significant, particularly considering the Hungarian government’s longstanding commitment to protecting children.

Prime Minister Orban, while describing Novak’s resignation as a “nightmare,” acknowledged that it was the right decision. During the opening of the parliament session on Monday, Orban praised Sulyok as someone with extensive experience, respected knowledge, and unquestionable authority. He emphasized that Hungary currently requires a president of such caliber.

Author: CrimeDoor

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