Hungary's Parliament Elects New President as Country Gears Up for Double Election
Child Abuse Pardon Scandal to Test Popularity of PM Orbán's
ruling Fidesz-KDNP alliance

February 27, 2024
Constitutional Court Chairman Tamás Sulyok has been elected Hungary’s next President by the progovernment majority of the country’s parliament. Sulyok’s election as head of state comes after his predecessor, Katalin Novák, was forced to step down following a controversial presidential pardon she granted to a child abuser’s convicted accomplice. Public discontent over the scandal also brought down former Justice Minister Judit Varga, who was widely expected to lead the ruling FideszKDNP alliance’s ticket for the upcoming EU elections.

While the ruling bloc has lost two of its most prominent figures and Fidesz’s pro-family image was also severely hit, Aretera’s baseline scenario assumes it will overcome the adverse impact of the scandal and remain on course to win the upcoming local and EU parliamentary elections. Although the scandal may benefit some opposition formations, including the far-right Our Homeland, most of Hungary’s opposition parties remain largely unpopular, with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s rule unlikely to be challenged.

President-elect Sulyok will be Hungary’s first Fidesz-nominated head of state without a partisan background. A legal scientist by profession, he is expected to be a reserved public figure, focusing on the constitutionality of newly adopted legislative initiatives. At the same time, he is unlikely to go against PM Orbán’s ruling bloc on issues deemed politically significant (or sensitive) for the ruling Fidesz party.
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