János Áder’s speech in the Hungarian National Assembly after being elected

His successor as President found himself face to face with a situation that was unprecedented during the last twenty years of our democratic history: “The people invested one single party alliance with their sovereign power, and opened an enormous opportunity, which is also an enormous responsibility,” President Pál Schmitt warned us on his election to this post.

This also meant that although the balance of power between the governing majority and the opposition are decided by the electorate, parties in Parliament have a joint responsibility for the country’s destiny, its reputation and its credibility.

As president of Hungary I will spare no efforts to fulfil my share of that responsibility as stipulated in the Basic Law. Likewise, I am sure that all of you expect me to avail myself fully of both my constitutional rights and obligations. This is precisely what I will do.

Members of Parliament on both sides of the House! In 1990, Hungary managed to return to the family of European democracies. Although the road has been rough and although the shadows of the past have long lingered over us, we may now declare at last that all the conditions are ripe for us to build our future on new foundations. By now we have realised that old answers would be inadequate to face new challenges. The questions raised by the 20th century were tackled with 20th century answers. But the world is still investigating what the real issues of the 21st Century are and what the correct answers to them may be.

This is a huge job which faces the peoples of the world, but one thing is certain. We are the only ones who can find our own answers. Thanks to the freedom which was born 22 years ago, we are well equipped for that job. We are in a position to define our own interests and to represent them.

We are in a position to live in liberty, to freely express our own opinions on anything at any time as well as to act according to our free will. In addition, we also now have a new, 21st Century Basic Law, born in freedom and democracy, which is a legitimate foundation for our common values.

Our Basic Law declares that Hungary is an independent and democratic republic governed by the Rule of Law. It is based on universal human values and our national traditions. Our new Basic Law, however, Europe’s youngest constitution also marks an epochal borderline in the thousand year long constitutional history of Hungarian Statehood.

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