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Katalin Novák elected as Hungary’s new president

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Hungary – As expected due to the Fidesz-KDNP coalition’s overwhelming majority there, former Family Minister Katalin Novák was elected by the Hungarian National Assembly to succeed János Áder as President of the Republic on Thursday. She obtained 137 votes against 51 for her opponent, the economist Péter Róna, who was the opposition’s candidate.

“I want to be a woman of peace”

Novák, who will take office on 10 May, will be the first woman to hold Hungary’s highest public office. In her speech to Hungary’s unicameral parliament, she said:

A spiritual and intellectual renewal is necessary.

(…) I will never give up sovereignty in the national sense. (…)

I want to be a good president of the Republic not just because I am a woman, but also because I am a woman.

I am getting ready for action. I am ready to take on all the burdens that this position imposes on me. (…)

As president, I want to be a woman of peace.

(…) Hungarians want peace!

Katalin Novák is 44 years old. She is from Szeged, the third-largest city in Hungary, located near the Romanian and Serbian borders. A lawyer and an economist, she is married with three children. She was vice-chair of Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party from 2017 to 2021, a position she resigned from to run for President. She has also held government positions as secretary of state for family and youth affairs (2014-2020), and then as family minister (2020-2021). She is fluent in French (she studied French and European law at the University of Paris-Nanterre), English, and German. In Hungary, the President is elected by the National Assembly for a five-year term.