Hungary ruling party names court head to succeed disgraced president

Hungary ruling party names court head to succeed disgraced president
Hungary ruling party names court head to succeed disgraced president

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Tamás Sulyok, President of the Constitutional Court. — Balázs Orbán/X pic

BUDAPEST, Feb 22 — Hungary's governing party today named Constitutional Court head Tamas Sulyok as the country's next president as nationalist premier Viktor Orban looks to overcome his biggest political crisis.

Orban ally Katalin Novak resigned as president earlier this month after it was revealed she pardoned a convicted child abuser's accomplice.

The pardon sparked outrage in Hungary — whose government has long campaigned on a pledge to protect children — turning into the biggest political crisis Orban has faced since his return to power in 2010.

Fidesz parliamentary group leader Mate Kocsis said his party was putting its "trust" in Sulyok as "the most suitable person" to succeed Novak.

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"He is best poised to embody the unity of the nation," he said at a televised briefing in the western town of Balatonalmadi, where his group is holding a two-day meeting behind closed doors.

Little known to the broader public, Sulyok, 67, became a judge of the constitutional court after he was elected by the parliament in 2014. Two years later, the legislature named him the head of the 15-member judicial body.

Sulyok has yet to be endorsed by parliament — seen as a formality as the Fidesz-led ruling coalition holds a comfortable majority.

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Kocsis stressed that Fidesz MPs want parliament — which reconvenes from next Monday — to elect the next president as soon as possible.

He also announced that the party leadership proposed MEP Tamas Deutsch to lead the governing coalition's list in this June's European election.

Previously, former justice minister Judit Varga was the presumed frontrunner, but she announced her "withdrawal from public life" over her role in the controversial pardon. — AFP

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