MEP Jozsef Szajer of the European People’s Party has announced he is stepping down from all the positions he held in the ruling Fidesz party so as to avoid even the appearance of Fidesz influencing the judiciary via him or his family.
Szajer notified Prime Minister and Fidesz leader Viktor Orban of his intention in a letter on Sunday.
Szajer’s wife, Tunde Hando, was chosen by parliament to head the new National Judicial Office (OBH) to oversee the administration of Hungary’s courts with effect from January 1, 2012.
Szajer, who was a senior drafter of Hungary’s new basic law that came into force today, said that had always considered the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers as key principles of democracy and the rule of law.
“I am convinced that we have to avoid even the appearance that the governing party strives to influence the judiciary as an independent branch of power through me or my wife. With this decision, I wish to facilitate by wife’s work and the renewal of the judiciary in the interest of all Hungarian citizens,” he wrote.
Szajer confirmed that he continued to agree with the policy pursued by the Orban government and Fidesz, and would give every possible support “for their efforts to renew Hungary.”
Parliament elected Hando as OBH head for a nine-year term with a two-thirds majority on December 13.