Former ombudsman Majtényi likely candidate in presidential elections which could come as early as March

February 8, 2017

The Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) has requested that former ombudsman and potential presidential candidate László Majtényi appear before the party’s general meeting next Wednesday for evaluation, reports mno.hu. MSZP has already officially endorsed Majtényi’s candidacy, but the Socialists want a chance to speak with him before completing the necessary paperwork to officially declare his candidacy.

Majtényi has the declared support of MSZP, Politics Can Be Different (LMP), Dialogue for Hungary (PM) and other independent MPs, and is likely to receive the necessary 40 MP signatures  to officially become a presidential nominee, even without support from radical right-wing party Jobbik, which has vowed not to participate in the “presidential election comedy.” Two-thirds of MPs must vote for a candidate in the first round of voting for the candidate to be confirmed, something the governing Fidesz-KDNP alliance, even with its decisive majority, may be unable to achieve for the incumbent President János Áder (Fidesz), who himself seeks a second 5-year term. If not, a simple plurality is enough to confirm the president in the second round of voting, an easy task for the governing parties, which hold 131 out of 199 total seats.

The government would reportedly like to wrap up the presidential election process as early as possible, and Fidesz head Lajos Kósa announced in a press conference that the election should take place between March 11 and April 10, little more than a month away. Meanwhile, democratic opposition parties and civil activists are lining up behind Majtényi, calling him “the kind of person that as president would not only represent the voters of a single party, but the whole country.” PM’s endorsement declares that “the former ombudsman always struggled for the rights of the people by means of the law, and proved many times with his actions that he represents the concept of the republic rather than party interests,” unlike “party soldier” János Áder.

Majtényi is the president of the Eötvös Károly public policy institute, a research institute and think-tank founded by the Open Society Foundation of Hungarian-American financier and philanthropist George Soros. He has served as the chief counsel to the Constitutional Court, and was Hungary’s first data protection commissioner between 1995-2001, and former president of the National Radio and Television Board.