Tamas Sulyok - Photo: MTI

Sulyok: ‘Serving country, nation is greatest honour’

Serving the country and the nation "is the greatest honour", President Tamas Sulyok said in his speech at his inauguration as head of state in front of Sandor Palace on Sunday. The president greeted Hungarians in the Carpathian Basic and in the wider world.

“I did not plan this service; I did not prepare for this task,” the president said. “But if fate presents one with unexpected situations and calls one to serve, one should not shy away from it,” he said.

“My oath sanctifies my loyalty and commitment to my country,” Sulyok said, adding he had always stood for enforcing the Fundamental Law which guaranteed the rule of law.

As president, Sulyok said, he would protect “the dignity of Hungarians” and “follow the path of good examples” paved by his predecessors while also “paving my own path”.

“The law has been … the compass of my whole life, and I wish to work accordingly,” the president said.

Sulyok said Hungary was a country with more than a thousand years of statehood, based on the principle of popular sovereignty, and the president’s task, he added, was to represent this state in his powers prescribed by the country’s Fundamental Law.

The president said the Fundamental law was “the cornerstone, framework and standard of my work”. He added that it precisely stated that the president of the republic embodied the unity of the nation and oversaw the democratic functioning of the state.

“This unity cannot and will not be broken…” he said.

Sulyok said he would not deviate from his predecessor’s “excellent example” of pursuing openness in international relations and maintaining close ties with the Hungarian diaspora.

Hungary’s president, he emphasised, was not only responsible for compatriots in the homeland and beyond the border “in a spiritual sense” but also as a matter of public law.

The president also said he considered the lives of Transcarpathian Hungarians in war-torn Ukraine with particular concern.

Sulyok said he considered it natural to support people in freely living according to their national and cultural identity.

Further, he highlighted the importance of pursuing good relations with neighbouring countries and close cooperation with Visegrad countries.

As between nations, mutual respect is also the standard between people, Sulyok said, adding that he and his wife would always stand with those who needed him most: those in need, the downtrodden and those fallen on hard times.

“Christian culture, faith and values are inseparable from us; they are the basis of our thousand-year-old statehood, an integral part of our past and the factor that determines our present,” Sulyok said.

“As Hungarians, we have merged with the fate of Europe, enriching it with our uniqueness,” he said, adding that “as Hungarians, we can strengthen the continent”.

The president said Europe’s future hinged “not only on us but on each and every European nation and member of the community”. This, he said, presented a difficult task ahead.

He said this is why it was vitally important that, amid such uncertainty, Hungarians, at least, had a sure footing.

“Our first and most sacred duty is to use all our strength and talent to ensure that Hungary remains Hungary and that its independence is maintained intact,” Sulyok said.

The fulfilment of a good life, security, order, justice and freedom “are possible if the citizens and the state have a common goal,” Sulyok said. “You cannot go against the will of the people; the state must serve its citizens.”

“Yet the state does not function flawlessly,” he said, adding that it was the task of the remedial legal system, the courts and the Constitutional Court to eliminate any errors made.

Public trust “must be the binding material” of 21st century Hungary, President Sulyok said. “Our democratic state cannot be conceived without it,” he said.

“Without trust there can be no functioning state, economy or legal system,” he added.

“Without honesty, there is no trust, and honesty can be shown in the existence of a dialogue,” he said, pledging to “strive to strengthen mutual understanding instead of suspicion, to ensure respect instead of insults”.

The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his wife, Speaker of Parliament Laszlo Kover and his wife, Deputy Prime Minister Laszlo Semjen, former presidents Janos Ader and Pal Schmitt, Interior Minister Sandor Pinter, Chief Prosecutor Peter Polt and Minister of Defence Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky, among others.

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