Parliament on Wednesday elected Janos Ader as the next president of Hungary.
Ader, 52, who will be the 5th president of the republic since the change of political system in 1989/90, called upon Hungarians in his acceptance speech to show one another respect even if they disagree.
“It is my earnest belief that we Hungarians will be able to prove our vitality only if we are able to discuss our problems, gently on occasion, fiercely on other occasions and if need be, but always maintaining our respect for one another,” he said.
He also stressed the importance of upholding Hungary’s new constitution, which took effect on Jan. 1 this year.
“As president of Hungary I will spare no efforts to fulfil my share of that responsibility as stipulated in the Basic Law. Likewise, I am sure that all of you expect me to avail myself fully of both my constitutional rights and obligations,” he said.
“Our Basic Law declares that Hungary is an independent and democratic republic governed by the Rule of Law. It is based on universal human values and our national traditions. I am convinced that our new Basic Law outlines the right track and the right framework for us to always find the right answers as a political nation to the basic questions and challenges of the 21st century.”
Ader, nominated by the ruling Fidesz-Christian-Democratic alliance, received 262 votes in favour in a secret ballot.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Wednesday that parliament had made the best possible decision by electing Ader. Describing him as an “anchor”, Orban told journalists the decision had been the best one for the task of “setting in motion and stabilising” the constitution.
“We know the president, we respect him and think highly of him …” he said.
Orban nominated the Fidesz MEP for the post on April 16 after Pal Schmitt resigned in the wake of a plagiarism scandal. Ader will take up his post on May 10. He has sixty days to relinquish his post as an MEP.
A total of 307 lawmakers registered to vote and 302 votes cast were valid. Forty lawmakers voted against Ader, who will hold office until 2017.
The opposition Socialist and LMP parties and lawmakers belonging to the Democratic Coalition party did not participate in the vote. Jobbik MPs voted against.
The radical nationalist Jobbik party called on Hungary’s incoming president Janos Ader to rise above his “party identity” and exercise real control over legislation, the party’s deputy leader said. Zoltan Balczo said Jobbik had hoped that “national cooperation” announced by the ruling parties would lead to the nomination of someone whose political career rose above the party. Since this had not been the case, Jobbik voted against Ader in the presidential election, he added.
Benedek Javor, the parliamentary leader of LMP, said his party had boycotted the vote in order to protest against the procedure by which Ader had been nominated. He said that after Pal Schmitt’s resignation, a public-law situation had emerged whereby trust in democratic institutions had been compromised. He said in such a situation it would have been proper to find a consensus on a future president who rose above party politics and who could strengthen national unity.
The small Democratic Coalition party said Ader was likely to be Fidesz’s president rather than that of the country as a whole. Agnes Vadai insisted that Ader could not be trusted to guard the democratic operation of state.
Ader, who joined Fidesz in April 1988 and is one of the party’s legal experts, headed Fidesz’s election campaigns in 1990 and 1994 and has been a deputy leader of the party on four occasions. He served as Speaker of Parliament between 1998 and 2002.
In 2009 he was elected as Member of the European Parliament. He joined the European People’s Party group and was elected as an EPP board member. He is deputy head of the EP’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.
He drafted Hungary’s new cardinal law on the electoral system adopted in 2011 and was a major actor in reforming the country’s judicial system.
In his speech Ader also said he would reach out to all sections of society and to Hungarians around the world.
“Let me reach out to believers and to non-believers alike, and ask them to see in each other what unites us, as understanding one another will enrich us all,” he said.
After being elected Ader took his oath of office and signed the oath documents. He then was congratulated on by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Parliamentary Speaker Laszlo Kover, Deputy PM Zsolt Semjen and four parliamentary group leaders. He then proceeded to shake hands with his predecessor Pal Schmitt, former Prime Ministers Peter Boross and Peter Medgyessy and Jozsef Palinkas, the president of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.