Magyar News, 2005. szeptember-december (16. évfolyam, 1-4. szám)

2005-09-01 / 1. szám

THE HUNGARIAN REPUBLIC HAS A NEW PRESIDENT a closer than expected election, academic lawyer László Sólyom beat Katalin Szili in the third round on Tuesday (June 7) afternoon to become the next President of the Republic of Hungary. László Sólyom, the Fidesz candidate, won 185 votes to Socialist (MSzP) candi­date Katalin Szili's 182. All together 368 MPs voted, with just one invalid ballot. Fidesz alleged that three Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF) MPs had been "bribed" to vote for Szili, although MDF caucus leader Károly Herényi rejected the idea. The junior governing party the Free Democrats (SzDSz) did not vote in the third round. Three MPs - said to be Gabriella Béki, Imre Mécs and Ferenc Wekler - had asked for exemption from the party line but were denied permission. Earlier, voting was thrown into confu­sion after the second round when it emerged that the eight right-wing inde­pendents who form the National Forum group in parliament had shown each other their voting slips before dropping them into the ballot box. The MSzP believed that this violated the constitutional requirement that MPs vote in secret, and thus called an extraordi­nary meeting of the House Committee. This began at 11.40 am on Monday. Second round results were released shortly after the meeting finished, with Sólyom at a seven vote advantage over Szili. The results of the first round came as a shock and seemed to defy all previous predictions, with Szili appearing to win an overwhelming victory. This was caused by Fidesz's decision to abstain from voting, a tactical manoeu­vre that allowed them to determine pre­cisely how many votes Szili had. In that event, Szili won 183 votes against Sólyom's 13, meaning that five MPs from other parties had voted for her, assuming complete voting discipline on the part of the Socialists. The SzDSz MP Imre Mécs later stated that his was one of these five votes. Gábor Kuncze, the party's chairman, told Infórádió that Mécs's violation of the party whip would have consequences, but that these would not necessarily go as far as excluding him from the SzDSz benches. MDF party leader Ibolya Dávid criti­cized Fidesz for abstaining from the first round without even warning Sólyom. Fidesz should apologize to him, she said. Courtesy of Thomas Escritt/Budapest Sun PRESIDENT: LÁSZLÓ SÓLYOM BORN in 1942, László Sólyom is the older of the two candidates. He was the first president of the Constitutional Court from 1990-1998. During this time, the court delivered some ground-breaking rulings, including the judgement that abolished the death penalty in Hungary. During his tenure, the court also deliv­ered a controversial ruling that church properties nationalized under communism should be restored to their original owners, which appeared to contradict an earlier rul­ing that no party could expect automatic restitution of nationalized property. It is rulings like this that have led some to criticize Sólyom for being an overly activist judge. He is, nonetheless, an internationally respected academic lawyer, a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences who has regularly advised international organi­zations like the Council of Europe. Dr. László Sólyom was bom in 1942 in Pécs. In 1965 he received his diploma from the University of Pécs, the Department of State- and Judiciary Science, also in library management. Then for three years he was adjunct professor in Jena, at the university’s Institute of Citizens Justice. For a decade he was a member of the Hungarian Scientific Academy. This was followed by being lec­turer, then professor at the Department of Civil Rights at ELTE. From 1995 he has been professor at the Legal Department of the Peter Pázmány Catholic University, later was head the Civil- and Community Law Department, also head the school of Doctoral Studies. In 1969 he received his Doctoral Degree at the Jéna University. In 1981 he earned a doctoral degree from the Hungarian Scientific Academy. The German Republic honored him with the Humboldt Award in 1998, and he became an Honorary Doctor of the Köln University as a guest professor. He had been representative, then man­ager of organizations of environment and civil rights. The Hungarian Parliament elected Dr. Sólyom as constitution judge in 1989. With this he disengaged himself from all political parties and organization. Then he was the vice president of the Constitutional Court, and three times elect­ed President. He received several outstanding awards, both Hungarian and international. Dr. Sólyom has been member of many judicial international organizations. He is married to a high school teacher (Hungarian language & psychology). They have two children and nine grandchildren. Page 1