Katalin Novak Becomes Hungary’s First Female President

The Hungarian Parliament on March 10 elected Katalin Novak as the country’s first ever female president.

Novak, a close ally of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, received 137 votes to 51 in the Parliament, dominated by Orban’s right-wing Fidesz party, ahead of her opposition rival, economist Peter Rona.

Novak, 44, also becomes the youngest ever head of state in Hungary.

Novak will take office on May 10 when the term of Jonas Ader, who has held the mostly ceremonial role since 2012, expires.

“It is thanks to being a woman and not despite it that I want to be a good president of Hungary,” Novak said in a speech before the vote.

Novak most recently served as a minister for family policy and she also served as the former vice president of the ruling Fidesz party.

Peter Marki-Zay, who leads the opposition party, criticized Novak of being “unfit” for the presidential position due to her partisan background.

Novak, who is socially conservative, has also been criticized for promoting anti-LGBTQ policies ahead of a referendum on April 3, coinciding with the parliamentary election, where Orban seeks to win a fourth straight term in power since 2010.

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