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Opposition committed to direct presidential election

The opposition is committed to direct general presidential election in Hungary, and considers it "unfair" that the incumbent Fidesz-Christian Democrat (KDNP) majority should decide on the next president representing national unity weeks before the end of its mandate, the opposition parliamentary parties said on Wednesday.

Referring to Fidesz’s candidate, former youth and family affairs minister Katalin Novak, the statement accused the party of nominating “a party soldier for the third time in a row for one of the most important public offices in Hungary.”

In view of the current legislation, the opposition is nominating economist Peter Rona, “a compatriot who made a career in economy and finance while preserving his integrity and independent opinion, who always stood up for democratic values, always saw the education of younger generations as important and who never severed ties with his homeland”, they said.

Noting that House Speaker Laszlo Kover, “despite decades-long custom”, will not read the biography of this year’s candidates from the dais ahead of the election on Thursday, and “Rona will not be allowed to hold a press conference in Parliament”, the opposition published Rona’s biography.

Born in Miskolc in 1942, Rona spent some of his childhood in Transcarpathia before fleeing the country with his parents after the 1956 anti-Communist uprising. He lived in Austria and the US. He studied economics at the University of Pennsylvania and law at Oxford University. He was the CEO of the Schroder Bank and Trust Company before returning to Hungary in 1991, where he teaches at the Faculty of Law of Eotvos Lorand University and sits on the board of the National Bank of Hungary. He also teaches at Oxford, the statement said.

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