Human Resources minister Zoltán Balog tipped to succeed János Áder as President of Hungary

December 9, 2016

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Zoltán Balog, the head of Hungary’s Ministry for Human Resources (pictured), may be next in line for the Hungarian presidency. The five-year term of  the current President, János Áder, ends next year and the former Fidesz MP and MEP has reportedly told Prime Minister Viktor Orbán he is not interested in a second term, reports atv.hu.

Orbán reportedly met Áder recently to ask him to stand again even though “the relationship based on unconditional trust between them is no longer the same.” According to ATV, Áder reportedly told Orbán before becoming President that he was only willing to serve a single term. One source told ATV, “It would take a serious turnaround for János Áder to undertake the next cycle, and it seems that neither he nor the Prime Minister are forcing it.”

The reason may be that Áder has not always gone along with the will of the Prime Minister, refusing on several occasions to sign controversial bills into law or referring them to the Constitutional Court for review. A champion of environmental protection and especially water conservation, Áder has made statements attributing mass migration to climate change, and reportedly refused to appear on state-owned media ahead of the October 2 anti-EU refugee resettlement quota referendum. This has led to speculation that he may not continue his career in the arena of Hungarian politics.

A high-level politician told ATV that the decision has essentially already been made to appoint Balog, but several government ministers and Fidesz members have acknowledged that it could pose a problem that Balog, an ordained minister, is a member of the Reformed Church while every Hungarian president since the transition from communism has been Catholic. Additionally, both Orbán and House Speaker László Kövér are members of the Reformed Church, raising concerns that none of the three highest executives in government would be Catholic, which could strain relations with the church’s leadership.

(This is the first time the Beacon is hearing that Áder is not interested in serving a second term. Furthermore, there is reason to doubt the veracity of this story.  Earlier this year a news crew recorded leading Fidesz-KDNP politicians discussing amongst themselves how “Viktor” did not intend to nominate “János” for a second term.-ed)