Hungary’s Socialist opposition held a congress on Sunday and announced the party’s choice of president of the republic.
The current president’s term expires in August. The Fidesz centre-right government, with a two-thirds parliamentary majority, will have the final say about who replaces Laszlo Solyom.
Ildiko Lendvai, the outgoing Socialist leader, said that the party’s candidate, Andras Balogh, 66, a university lecturer, member of the Academy of Sciences and former head of the Foreign Affairs Institute, would be a fine embodiment of the spirit of the democratic republic and not just a figurehead.
She insisted that the Socialist party is the second biggest parliamentary force and therefore had enough power and the right to nominate a presidential candidate. Lendvai added that now the government party has overwhelming power, it is especially important that there should be a head of state who does not give up the independence of his office in deference to a single party.
The Socialist party is to hold its next congress in July, when it will elect new leaders. Attila Mesterhazy, the current parliamentary group leader and list-leader in the April general election, is strongly tipped to be voted in as the next party leader.