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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, center, attends a NATO leaders virtual summit at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Feb. 25, 2022. Orban, has nurtured close political and economic ties with Russia for more than a decade. But following Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine, Hungary’s neighbor, Orban is facing growing pressure to change course.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, center, attends a NATO leaders virtual summit at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Feb. 25, 2022. Orban, has nurtured close political and economic ties with Russia for more than a decade. But following Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine, Hungary’s neighbor, Orban is facing growing pressure to change course. (Olivier Matthys/AP)

HUNGARY 179 words Hungary elects Orban loyalist as nation’s first female president (c) 2022, Bloomberg · Zoltan Simon · WORLD, EUROPE · Mar 10, 2022 - 11:21 AM Hungarian lawmakers elected Katalin Novak, a former minister in Viktor Orban’s cabinet, as the country’s first female president.

Novak, 44, was elected for a five-year term on Thursday with the required two-thirds majority of parliamentary votes, an expected result as Orban’s lawmakers wield a legislative supermajority.

While Novak has touted her new job as a victory for women, her appointment fits a pattern by Orban to tap loyalists to the largely ceremonial role. Novak, a former Family Affairs Minister and ruling party vice president, has vowed to support Orban’s policies.

Her predecessor Janos Ader, who vacates the presidency after two terms in power, was known for his willingness to rubber-stamp legislation in what has become the most extensive rollback of democratic standards in post-communist Hungary.

Steps included extending Orban’s influence to the courts, media, culture and large swaths of the economy. The moves have triggered a European Union probe into the state of the rule of law and spurred the creation of a new bloc-wide mechanism that allows for funding cuts in case of serious breaches.


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