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Hungary to swear in new president amid corruption scandal

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Hungary to swear in new president amid corruption scandal

Hungary to swear in new president amid corruption scandal

Hungary will swear in Tamas Sulyok as its next President today, following ex-President Katalin Novak’s resignation in February.

In Hungary, the presidential role is largely ceremonial, though President’s are able to grant pardon.

Novak resigned amidst outrage over her decision to pardon a man involved in a child sex abuse scandal. The scandal became a major political headache for Prime Minister Viktor Orban, especially since his party campaigned on family-friendly policies and for greater child protections.

This has been the largest political crisis for Orbán since his return to power in 2010, with thousands protesting on the streets. Some supporters believe Novak was sacrificed to protect Orban, splitting party support in an election year.

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The opposition has added further pressure, by criticizing the nomination of politically-inexperienced Orban-supporter Sulyok. Several opposition parties boycotted the vote and organized protests calling for direct presidential elections, which thousands attended.

Although the scandal and protests have caused consternation for Orban, it is unlikely to impact the upcoming elections. Over the previous decade Orban has stripped the country’s democratic institutions. Freedom House no longer considers Hungary a full democracy. The opposition is fragmented, weak and unlikely to capitalize on the political crisis Orbán faces.

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