President of the Republic of
Hungary
Magyarország köztársasági elnöke
Flag of the President of Hungary.svg
Katalin Novák in 2017 (cropped).jpg
Incumbent
Katalin Novák

since 10 May 2022
ResidenceSándor Palace
Budapest, Hungary
AppointerNational Assembly
Term lengthFive years,
renewable once
PrecursorRegent of Hungary (1st)
Presidential Council of Hungary (2nd)
Formation11 January 1919 (1st)
1 February 1946 (2nd)
23 October 1989 (current)
First holderMihály Károlyi (1919)
Zoltán Tildy (1946)
Mátyás Szűrös (1989)
Abolished29 February 1920 (1st)
20 August 1949 (2nd)
DeputySpeaker of the National Assembly
Salary3,909,710 Ft monthly
WebsiteOfficial website

The president of Hungary, officially the president of the republic[note 1] (Hungarian: Magyarország köztársasági elnöke, államelnök, or államfő), is the head of state of Hungary. The office has a largely ceremonial (figurehead) role, but may also veto legislation or send legislation to the Constitutional Court for review. Most other executive powers, such as selecting government ministers and leading legislative initiatives, are vested in the office of the prime minister instead.

The current president of Hungary is Katalin Novák, who took office on 10 May 2022. She is the first woman to hold the presidency.[1]

Presidential election

The Constitution of Hungary provides that the National Assembly (Országgyűlés) elects the president of Hungary for a term of five years. Presidents have a term limit of two terms of office.[2]

Independence of the function

According to Article 12 (2) of the Constitution, the president, when exercising their function, cannot exercise "a public, political, economic or social function or mission". They may not engage in "any other paid professional activity, and may not receive remuneration for any other activity, other than activities subject to copyright".[2]

Condition for the candidature

According to Article 10 (2), any Hungarian citizen aged at least 35 years old may be elected as president.[2]

Electoral process

Called by the president of the National Assembly, the presidential election must be held between 30 and 60 days before the end of the term of the incumbent president, or within 30 days if the office is vacated.[3]

The Constitution states that candidatures must be "proposed in writing by at least one fifth of the members of the National Assembly".[4] They shall be submitted to the president of the National Assembly before the vote. A member of the National Assembly may nominate only one candidate.[4]

The secret ballot must be completed within two consecutive days at the most. In the first round, if one of the candidates obtains more than 2/3 of the votes of all the members of the National Assembly, the candidate is elected.[5]

If no candidate obtains the required majority, the second round is organized between the two candidates who obtained the most votes in the first round. The candidate obtaining the majority of the votes cast in the second round shall be elected president. If the second round is unsuccessful, a new election must be held after new candidatures are submitted.[6]

Oath of office

According to Article 11 (6), the president of the republic must take an oath before the National Assembly.[2][7]

The oath is as follows:

Én, [name of the person] fogadom, hogy Magyarországhoz és annak Alaptörvényéhez hű leszek, jogszabályait megtartom és másokkal is megtartatom; köztársasági elnöki tisztségemet a magyar nemzet javára gyakorolom. [And, according to the conviction of the one who takes the oath] Isten engem úgy segéljen!

I [name of the person], swear to be faithful to Hungary and its Basic Law, to respect and enforce its legislation by others; I shall exercise my function as the President of the Republic for the good of the Hungarian nation. [And, according to the conviction of the one who takes the oath] May God help me so!

Competencies and prerogatives

According to the Basic Law, "the Head of State of Hungary is the President of the Republic who expresses the unity of the nation and oversees the democratic functioning of State institutions". Commander-in-Chief of the Hungarian Defence Forces, "represents Hungary", "may participate in the sittings of the National Assembly and take the floor", "initiate laws" or a national referendum. It determines the date of elections, participates in "decisions concerning particular states of law" (state of war, emergency...), convokes the National Assembly after the elections, can dissolve it, check the conformity of a law by the Constitutional Court.[2]

The head of state "proposes the names of the Prime Minister, the President of the Curia, the Principal Public Prosecutor and the Commissioner of Fundamental Rights", the sole nominator of judges and the President of the Budget Council. With the "countersignature of a member of the government", the head of state appoints the ministers, the president of the National Bank of Hungary, the heads of independent regulatory entities, university professors, generals, mandate ambassadors and university rectors, "awards decorations, rewards and titles". However, the president can refuse to make these appointments "if the statutory conditions are not fulfilled or if it concludes for a well-founded reason that there would be a serious disturbance to the democratic functioning of the State institutions".[2]

Also with the agreement of the government, the head of state "exercises the right of individual pardon", "decides matters of organization of territory" and "cases concerning the acquisition and deprivation of citizenship".[2]

Immunity and removal from office

According to Article 12 of the Basic Law, "the President of the Republic is inviolable". Consequently, all criminal proceedings against the president can only take place after the end of their mandate.[8]

However, Article 13 (2) of the Constitution provides for the removal of the president. This can only take place if the president "intentionally violates the Basic Law or another law in the performance of duties, or if they commit an offense voluntarily". In such a case, the motion for removal should be proposed by at least 15 of the members of the National Assembly.[2]

The indictment procedure is initiated by a decision taken by secret ballot by a majority of 23 of the members of the National Assembly.[9] Subsequently, in proceedings before the Constitutional Court, it is determined whether the president should be relieved of their duties.[10]

If the court establishes the responsibility of the president, the president shall be removed from office.[11]

Succession

Termination of mandate and incapacity

According to Article 12 (3), the term of office of the president of the republic ends:

According to Article 12 (4), the National Assembly must decide by a majority of 2/3 of all its members to decide the incapacity of the president of the republic to exercise their responsibilities for more than 90 days.

Absence (temporary incapacity)

According to Article 14 (1), if the president of the republic is temporarily incapable of exercising their functions and powers, these are exercised by the speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary, who can not delegate them to deputies and who is replaced in National Assembly duties by one of the deputy speakers of the National Assembly[12] until the end of the president's incapacity.

According to Article 14 (2), the temporary incapacity of the president of the republic is decided by the National Assembly on the proposal of the president themselves, the government, or a member of the National Assembly.[2]

History

Role in the legislative process

The role of the President of the Republic in the legislative process[13]
President Self-proposed laws Political vetoes Constitutional vetoes All
Árpád Göncz
(1990–1995)
3 0 7 10
Árpád Göncz
(1995–2000)
0 2 1 3
Ferenc Mádl
(2000–2005)
0 6 13 19
László Sólyom
(2005–2010)
0 31 16 47
Pál Schmitt
(2010–2012)
0 0 0 0
János Áder
(2012–2017)
0 28 5 33
János Áder
(2017–2022)
0 9 3 12
Katalin Novák
(2022–)
0 2 0 2
All 3 78 45 126

Latest election

Main article: 2022 Hungarian presidential election

Candidate Party Supporting parties 1st round
Votes % of
all MPs
% of
voting MPs
Katalin Novák Fidesz FideszKDNP 137 70.98 68.84
Péter Róna Independent United Opposition 51 26.42 25.62
Total votes 175 87.9
Did not vote 24 12.1
Total seats 199 100
Source: hvg.hu

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Under the Basic Law, adopted in 2011, the official name of the state is simply Hungary; Before, the state was called the Republic of Hungary. However, the office is nonetheless referred to as the president of the republic even under the Basic Law, though in a sense of "the president of the republic who presides over Hungary", rather than "the president who presides over the Republic of Hungary".

References

  1. ^ "Hungary's 1st female president takes office". Xinhua News Agency. 10 May 2022. Retrieved 18 September 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i THE BASIC (FUNDAMENTAL) LAW OF HUNGARY A Commentary of the New Hungarian Constitution (Clarus Press, 2015, ISBN 978-1-905536-81-8), pp. 153–163
  3. ^ Article 11 (1) of the Constitution
  4. ^ a b Article 11 (2) of the Constitution
  5. ^ Article 11 (3) of the Constitution
  6. ^ Article 11 (4) of the Constitution
  7. ^ "Felszólalás".
  8. ^ Article 13 (1) of the Constitution
  9. ^ Article 13 (3) of the Constitution
  10. ^ Article 13 (4) of the Constitution
  11. ^ Article 13 (6) of the Constitution
  12. ^ Article 14 (3) of the Constitution
  13. ^ "A köztársasági elnök szerepe a törvényalkotásban". Országgyűlés.