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United opposition nominates Péter Róna as its candidate for head of state

picture of Péter Róna

Hungary’s united political opposition has chosen Péter Róna as its nominee for President of Hungary, reports HVG. The 79-year-old lawyer and economist has already accepted the nomination.

In a statement, United for Hungary announced its decision to nominate Róna (pictured), a professor at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford University, as Hungary’s next head of state. The election will be held in Parliament on March 10.

Last week, opposition prime ministerial candidate Péter Márki-Zay was openly promoting Gábor Iványi for the nomination, but news reports indicated that coalition partner Jobbik was not happy with the pastor and former MP for the role.

Márki-Zay commented on the eventual choice of Péter Róna as their candidate:

We are aware that with parliamentary conditions today, Fidesz can easily elect its own candidate, Katalin Novák. At the same time, we consider it important to show an alternative for the position of head of state.

Péter Róna emigrated to the United States in 1956 with his family, where he worked in the government and then in the banking sector. In 1986, he was appointed President and CEO of Schroders Bank.

He came back to Hungary when the socialist regime ended in 1989 and became the head of the First Hungarian Fund, then founded bus manufacturer NABI North American Vehicle Industry Co.

In the 2000s, Róna began lecturing at Eötvös Loránd University’s Department of International Law, and was a government adviser during loan negotiations with the IMF and the EU in 2008. In 2010, he became a member of the Supervisory Board of the Hungarian National Bank, and was also co-chair of the Board of Trustees at Ecopolis, the foundation of opposition party LMP.

Péter Róna’s life path, renown, and roles in public life, stated Márki-Zay, make him suitable for the role of Hungary’s president, one who “embodies the unity of the nation.”

The fact that the president will instead be one of Viktor Orbán’s most loyal servants says a lot about the current state of Hungary.

-he added. Márki-Zay also promised that if the opposition wins the election and manages to amend the constitution, his government will institute direct presidential elections instead of election by Members of Parliament.

Jobbik President Péter Jakab revealed in a Facebook post that he had asked Róna if he would accept the nomination month ago, and party chairs approved the choice in a vote last Sunday.

[HVG]

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