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Áder nominated for President

April 18th, 2012

A left-wing columnist thinks that János Áder as president will be a puppet of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. A right-wing commentator, on the other hand, is convinced that Áder is an ideal candidate, since he has the experience and skills to defend himself and Hungary’s democratic image.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán named János Áder as his candidate for the presidency, after Pál Schmitt resigned in the wake of a plagiarism scandal. Áder, a 52 year-old lawyer, joined Fidesz in 1988, acted as the Deputy Chairman of the party, and served as House Speaker from 1998 to 2002. Since 2009, he has been Member of the European Parliament. The MPs of the governing coalition unanimously supported Áder’s nomination.

Orbán is the chief, and Áder, as Orbán put it, is the brigadier general,” Ákos Tóth comments in Népszabadság on the nomination. The left-wing columnist remarks that Áder seemed to have lost Orbán’s confidence after the 2002 electoral defeat, when Orbán restructured his party. Tóth also notes that according to rumours aired by Magyar Nemzet in 2006, Áder participated in informal meetings of conservative intellectuals and right-wing politicians who were pondering establishing a new right-wing party. Tóth believes that Áder in 2009 “went into exile” by becoming Member of the European Parliament, after Viktor Orbán turned away from him.

Since 2010, however, Áder has been back in politics again, Tóth continues. He took an active part in drafting two of the cardinal laws, including the Electoral Law, which, according to left-wing critics, is aimed at entrenching Fidesz in power (see BudaPost November 20, 2011). As the commentator sees it, by doing so, Áder wished to express his full loyalty towards Orbán, while the Prime Minister wanted to “compromise” him by involving him in his “revolution”. All this will make the new president servile to Viktor Orbán and his regime, rather than a Head of State symbolizing the unity of the nation, Tóth concludes.

In Magyar Nemzet, Szabolcs Szerető finds Áder an ideal candidate for the presidency. János Áder’s democratic credentials are immaculate, he believes. He was an active figure of the 1989 democratic transition, and also took part in the constitutional debates at the time of the regime change.

Áder will try his best to convince the international community about the merits and the logic of the new constitutional setting, Szerető believes. Szerető considers Áder a seasoned politician, who has the international experience and the skills to defend himself and the image of his country against the fierce criticism that is expected to pour in from both within and outside Hungary.

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