The history of the institution
From 2005 onwards it was also a jurist, university professor and a former judge of the Constitutional Court, László Sólyom who was the head of state for five years. He served as the President of the Constitutional Court from 1990, the first year of the democratic rule of law in Hungary until 1998.
From 2010 until 2012, it was Pál Schmitt, the two time Olympic champion, with significant experiences in sports and international diplomacy who served in this office. He was the Secretary-general of the Hungarian Olympic Committee between 1983 and 2010, and served as the Vice-President of the International Olympic Committee between 1995 and 1999. Following his resignation, the Hungarian National Assembly elected János Áder to be the democratic Hungary’s head of state.
János Áder is a lawyer, one of the Hungarian politicians of the change of political system. He attended the historically significant 1987 Lakitelek-meeting and later the 1989 Opposition and National Roundtable Talks, where he played an important role in the development of the democratic election system. At the first free parliamentary elections he was elected a Member of Parliament for the Alliance of Young Democrats. He was elected at three consecutive elections as an MP in an independent constituency of his hometown, Csorna. He took part in the work of the Constitutional, Legislative and Justice committees of the National Assembly. In 1998, he was elected Speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly, an office he held until 2002. In 2009, János Áder was elected Member of the European Parliament. As an MEP he was Vice-Chair of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.
The entry into office of János Áder in 2012 coincides with a new milestone in the constitutional development of our country, because it is this year that the 21st century Fundamental Law of our country will enter into force to replace the old constitution of 1949, which has been amended several times and was considered to be interim from the change of the political system.
The Fundamental Law adopted in 2011 and entered into force on 1st January 2012 stipulates that the most important task of the head of state of Hungary is to embody the nation’s unity and to safeguard the democratic operation of state organisation.
The President of the Republic is the Commander in Chief of the Hungarian Defence Forces, may attend and address any session of National Assembly, may propose bills and national referenda. The President sets the date for the general elections of Members of Parliament, local representatives and mayors, and of members of the European Parliament, and for national referenda; convenes the inaugural session of the National Assembly; may dissolve the National Assembly and may send adopted Acts to the Constitutional Court to examine their conformity with the Fundamental Law, or may return them to the National Assembly for reconsideration.
The President of the Republic proposes persons for the positions of Prime Minister, the President of the Curia, the Supreme Prosecutor and the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, appoints professional judges and the President of the Budget Council, and confirms the appointment of the President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
The President of the Republic recognises the binding nature of international agreements by authorisation of National Assembly; accredits and receives ambassadors and envoys, appoints Ministers, the Governor and Deputy Governors of the National Bank of Hungary, the heads of autonomous regulatory bodies and university professors; the President of the Republic appoints university rectors, appoints and promotes generals; the head of state awards statutory decorations, prizes and titles. The President of the Republic exercises the right to grant pardons to individuals, decides on any matter of territorial administration within his or her responsibilities and competences, and decides on any matter related to the acquisition and termination of citizenship.
The Fundamental Law stipulates that any Hungarian citizen above the age of 35 years may be elected to serve as the President of the Republic. According to the constitution the President of the Republic is elected for five years and may be re-elected only once. The President of the Republic is elected by the National Assembly.