02nd May 2012

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

Members of Parliament, Past Presidents of the Republic, Mr Speaker, Mr Prime Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen, Fellow Hungarians! Before accepting the nomination to become Hungary’s President of the Republic, I felt it was only fair to myself, as well as to my fellow countrymen and women to deeply examine my own conscience. I felt, in fact, that it was my moral duty to do so.

Those who know me well know that I have never been one to shirk either the assignments or the responsibilities which fall to me. This particular self-examination, however, was harder for me than any which preceded it.

It was hard because I had to ask myself: how could I measure myself against the full burden of trust placed in me, to perform the duties of the President of the Republic? If anyone knows what that feels like, it is the gentlemen who have walked down that path before me. I now know how they must have felt.

Ladies and Gentlemen! The first word I would like to utter in my capacity as Hungary’s fifth President of the Republic is a word of gratitude. It is a word of thanks to all those who supported my candidacy, as well as to those who have criticised it. Support is always a source of strength, while criticism is useful in that it cautions one to remain both sober and measured. Let me thank you, therefore, for both your confidence and for your reservations. To my mind, what they reflect is democracy and national unity.

The true unity of a nation is in fact just as complex as harmony is in music, the fruit of many kinds of sounds and phrases. But in order to find true joy in recognising ourselves in that harmony, there is one particular aspect which we must remain alert to – we should never, for a single minute, forget what democracy actually means.

Debate gives birth to the truth of democracy. Such debate can be sharp, and it can be hard, but it must always be founded on mutual respect. Respect for ourselves as Hungarians and as Europeans, respect for our national communities, respect for our constitutional legal institutions.

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