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“A complete surprise.” Who is Tamas Sulyok, the new president of Hungary

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Tamas Sulyok was elected as the new president of Hungary. The 67-year-old president of the Constitutional Tribunal “has not been politically involved so far, but he is associated with Fidesz,” points out Ilona Gizińska, an analyst at the Center for Eastern Studies. As he points out, “his candidacy was a complete surprise to the Hungarian public opinion.” What is worth knowing, President-elect of Hungary?

Tamas Sulyok was elected by parliament Hungarian for president on Monday, two weeks after Katalin Novak resigned from office. Sulyok, the current president of the Constitutional Tribunal, was the candidate of the ruling Fidesz-KDNP coalition. In a secret ballot, he was supported by 134 deputies of the National Assembly, which currently has 198 deputies. Five members were against and no one abstained. The president-elect will take office on March 5; will be the country’s seventh president after the fall of communism.

SEE ALSO: The Hungarian Parliament elected Tamas Sulyok as the new president

“As a lawyer and also as President of the Republic, I can best serve the public good and uphold the unity of the nation by upholding the fundamental values ​​of the law,” Sulyok said in a statement after the vote. In a short speech he promised, among other things: transparency in its decisions regarding pardons. He thus referred to the circumstances of the resignation of President Katalin Novak, which was related to her pardon of a person convicted of covering up pedophilia cases.

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SEE ALSO: The President of Hungary responds to criticism for pardoning a man convicted of covering up pedophilia

Tamas Sulyok – who is he?

67-year-old Tamas Sulyok is a lawyer, a member of the Constitutional Tribunal since 2014, and its president since 2016. He will be the second president of Hungary – after Laszlo Solyom, who died last year – who previously presided over the Constitutional Court.

Tamas Sulyok in the Hungarian ParliamentZOLTAN MATHE/PAP/EPA

Sulyok comes from a legal family: his father and two brothers were also lawyers. – My father was a man of faith. He believed that God had the right to take back what he had given. I still benefit from that education to this day. I always try to see the good in all possibilities, Sulyok recalled in an interview for Jogi Fórumon in 2015. – I wanted to be a teacher, but my dad said it was a good profession, but it was difficult to make a living from it. I thought about it and chose law, he admitted in the same interview.

Analyst about being “surprised” by Sulyok’s candidacy

Ilona Gizińska, an analyst at the Center for Eastern Studies (OSW), points out that the president-elect of Hungary “is a person tailored to the current needs of Fidesz, Viktor Orban’s party.” – The new president has not been politically involved so far, but he is associated with Fidesz – says the analyst. – Everything indicates that he will be more conservative and working in the background than the current president, Katalin Novak – he adds.

Tamas Sulyok and Viktor Orban in the Hungarian ParliamentSZILARD KOSZTICSAK/PAP/EPA

SEE ALSO: Hungarian President Katalin Novak resigned

Gizińska reminds that Sulyok was elected president of the Constitutional Tribunal in 2016 thanks to Fidesz votes. – The fresh image that Sulyok brings is now very much needed by Fidesz – says the analyst. – His candidacy was a complete surprise to the Hungarian public opinion – he adds. The president-elect’s name did not appear on the broad list of potential candidates after Novak stepped down.

The choice of Sulyok “is not accidental”

As Gizińska emphasizes, Sulyok has not been a media figure so far, although this does not mean that he was anonymous. – He personally supported the controversial decision regarding the Central European University (CEU) from 2023, which concluded that the practical prohibition by Fidesz CEU’s activities in Hungary were legal – reminds the expert. According to her choice someone from the world of judiciary is also not accidental after Novak made a serious mistake in this area that cost her her position.

Tamas SulyokAP Photo/Denes Erdos/EastNews

SEE ALSO: The Hungarian Parliament supports Sweden’s admission to NATO

Reuters, PAP, Telex, tvn24.pl

Main photo source: ZOLTAN MATHE/PAP/EPA

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