German magazine: Time for conservative Hungary to have a female president

German magazine: Time for conservative Hungary to have a female president

Katalin Novak may become Hungary's first ever female president, even though the opposition is fuming. PM Orban's confidante is fully aware of her popularity gained in the field of family policy, writes Alexander Marguier in his portrait piece to the German Cicero magazine.

NAGYVILÁG English 2022. JANUÁR 29. 15:56

The German monthly Cicero magazine has published an article about Hungary’s presidential candidate. According to the author, the 44-year-old politician is friendly, approachable and has been around the world. Nevertheless, „her political opponents were literally fuming when Hungarian PM Viktor Orban nominated Ms Novak for the post shortly before Christmas.”

Alexander Marguier stressed that Ms Novak’s nomination by the leaders of Hungary’s ruling Fidesz shows that they’ve recognised that

it’s time, even in the typically conservative Hungary, for a female president,

The author has described as a harsh judgment remarks made by the prime ministerial hopeful of Hungary’s leftist opposition, namely that Ms Novak is even „less suitable” than Hungary’s current head of state Janos Ader to act as counterweight against the country’s current prime minister.

However, Katalin Novak is a woman who enjoys the unwavering confidence of Fidesz’s current president, a man who rules with a degree of inclination toward absolutism, the author says, adding that Ms Novak became Fidesz’s vice president in 2017. Similar to Germany, the main task of Hungary’s head of state is also to represent „the nation’s unity” and rise above the petty details of daily politics. Ms Novak, a mother of three, said she plans to embody this role, despite the opposition’s every suspicion.

Cicero recalls that Katalin Novak, an awardee of France’s Knight of the Order of the Legion of Honour, began her political career at Hungary’s foreign ministry and commands quite a high degree of popularity among her compatriots, even beyond her party’s membership. This is due to measures initiated up until recently by Ms Novak, as family minister, to support especially young couples to have children.

Baby bond, tax breaks, increased creche capacities, subsidised home purchase loans and the list goes on: there is hardly any other country that offers as much consistent state support to families as Hungary in order to stop the country’s population from declining.

This strategy against demographic change could be briefly described as „children instead of migration”. Although Hungary remains far from the targeted fertility rate of 2.1, the reversal of the trend has already taken place, the author of the article points out.

He recalls that Ms Novak has experience in diplomacy, studied in Paris, and is fluent in German, as well as in French, English and Spanish. She gained proficiency in German as a young mother living in Germany’s Taunus region, where her husband worked at the European Central Bank.

It seems highly likely that MPs will elect Katalin Novak as Hungary’s next president. As head of state, her key powers will include the right to initiate legislation and the right to dissolve parliament. However, one way or another, she will – even as head of state – certainly continue to push ahead with her family policy agenda, reads the conclusion of the portrait article entitled Auf Augenhöhe (At Eye Level) published by the Cicero magazine.