Though it may seem as a whimper rather than a bang, the inauguration of President Pál Schmitt marks an important step in the establishment of the new constitutional order envisioned by the ruling party, Fidesz. While most of the details regarding the new constitution remain yet to be filled in, both PM Viktor Orbán and the new president himself have been outspoken as to what the president’s role should be. It can be roughly summarised as “be seen, but not heard.”
Schmitt has made clear that he desires to be an “engine of legislation” rather than a “check” on it. Unsurprisingly, PM Orbán shares Schmitt’s view of the president’s role (or is it the other way round?), as he told a TV reporter that – by definition – the president cannot act as a check on the government (i.e. the cabinet) because both are part of the executive.
Policy Solutions’ analysis on the political role of the President of Hungary can be downloaded from here.
Policy Solutions is a progressive political research institute based in Budapest. It was founded in 2008 and it is committed to the values of liberal democracy, solidarity, equal opportunity and European integration. The focus of Policy Solutions’ work is on understanding political processes in Hungary and the European Union. Among the pre-eminent areas of our research are the investigation of how the quality of democracy evolves, the analysis of factors driving euroscepticism, populism and the far-right, and election research.
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