Tamas Sulyok - Photo: MTI

Parliament elects Tamas Sulyok president

Hungary's parliament elected Tamas Sulyok, the outgoing head of the Constitutional Court, as head of state in a secret ballot on Monday.

Sulyok, who was the sole candidate for the post, received 134 votes of 139 valid ballots, with 5 lawmakers voting against him.

Prior to the vote, MPs of the opposition Democratic Coalition, the Socialist Party, Jobbik and Parbeszed left the chamber.

After the announcement of the outcome of the vote, the president-elect took the presidential oath of office.

Sulyok will assume office as the seventh Hungarian president since the 1989-1990 change of political system on March 5.

In a speech after his election, Sulyok said he wanted to build trust through mutual understanding free from prejudice. He said he believed in “the broadest possible transparency” when it came to bestowing awards or granting clemency.

Sulyok promised to work for a fair balance of constitutional fundamental rights and values.

He said the prerequisite for the existence of the state and the nation was mutual trust between individuals and groups of society, adding that he considered national constitutional identity and statehood based on popular sovereignty to be fundamentally important constitutional values.

The president-elect said those in a difficult situation, those unable to care for themselves, the elderly, ill and lonely “can always count on my attention and support”.

Sulyok was born on March 24, 1956 in Kiskunfelegyhaza. In 1980, he graduated from the Faculty of Public Sciences and Law of the Jozsef Attila University of Szeged.

In 2004, he gained a qualification in European law from Budapest’s ELTE university and obtained a PhD from Szeged university in 2013, his thesis being on the constitutional status of the legal profession, the regulation of the internal market of the European Community and the connections between legal services.

Between 1997 and 2014 he headed a private legal practice, and from 2000 until his election as a constitutional judge in 2014 he was the honorary consul of Austria in Szeged. Since September 2005, he has taught constitutional law as a visiting lecturer at Szeged university.

He was deputy president of the Constitutional Court from April 2015 and in November 2016 parliament elected him as the court’s president.

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