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President Áder to be re-elected

January 3rd, 2017

As President Áder accepts PM Orbán’s nomination for a second presidential term, analysts sharply disagree in evaluating his New Year address.

Nészava’s Mariann Bíró questions the sincerity of the President’s plea for reconciliation and political fairness. (In his televised address on New Year’s Eve, Mr Áder said Hungarians should find inspiration in the 1867 compromise with Austria which resulted in unprecedented development and social progress.) The left-wing analyst believes Mr Áder has in reality sided with the government on most controversial issues and has only referred 4 laws to the constitutional court for revision. She admits however that the President returned an exceptionally high number (28) of acts to Parliament for reconsideration. All in all Bíró agrees with the opposition view that Mr Áder is unfit for the job. (The president’s 5 year term will expire in May this year. A two thirds majority is required for his re-election in the first voting round, while a simple majority is sufficient in the second.)

In Magyar Nemzet, Szabolcs Szerető on the other hand sees the President’s appeal as ”carrying a strong message”. Sobriety and a spirit of compromise, he explains, will probably be in short supply as the 2018 election year approaches. At present, in Szerető’s opinion, Fidesz looks like the easy winner of those elections; the only question remaining is whether the governing party will get a two thirds majority in Parliament. At the same time, he quotes opinion polls which show discontent with the government among a slight majority of the population. He interprets those figures as signs of a demand for a viable opposition alternative, which is not matched by the “supply” represented by opposition parties at present. Szerető thinks a movement representing the spirit of compromise mentioned in the President’s address could fill at least some of that void.