Budapest, December 1 (MTI) – The opposition Together (Egyutt) party will “under no circumstances” vote to approve Barnabas Lenkovics as president of the Constitutional Court, a party lawmaker said ahead of the parliamentary vote today.
Lawmakers are expected to approve Lenkovics, who is a member of the court, in a vote that requires a two thirds majority to pass later today. Lenkovics was nominated by Speaker of Parliament Laszlo Kover on Friday.
The Socialist Party will boycott the vote, the party’s deputy leader told a news conference. Gergely Barandy insisted that the only principle guiding the top court’s decisions “is to please Viktor Orban”. The Socialists will not back a candidate who has “supported discrimination against churches, forced retirement of judges and cheating in the municipal elections,” he said.
The Democratic Coalition (DK) said they would not back Lenkovics’s candidacy.
“Lenkovics earlier was an exceptional lawyer who, in the last few years, has, regrettably and for an inexplicable reason, done much to solidify the power of the government which has dismantled the rule of law,” DK said in a statement.
Zsuzsanna Szelenyi, a deputy for Egyutt, told a press conference that Lenkovics, as a constitutional judge, had been known to ditch proposals critical of the government. He has also expressed opinions on such vital matters as the right to ownership or freedom of the press which are not in line with the rule of law, she said. For these reasons Lenkovics is unfit to restore constitutional rule which has been eroded over the past few years, she added.
The opposition LMP party votes “no” on Lenkovics, because of his views on the separation of powers, Andras Schiffer, the party’s leader, told a press conference while the voting had already begun. He said Lenkovics had earlier said the separation of powers did not mean that the branches of power should “get in each other’s way”, instead they have an obligation to cooperate.
Gabor Fodor, leader of the Hungarian Liberal Party (MLP) who sits as an independent, said the vote “cannot be taken seriously” and the MLP will not support Lenkovics’s candidacy. He said the top court’s scope of authority had been narrowed and its members boosted by persons close to Fidesz over the past few years.
The top court chief will be elected by a two-thirds majority of MPs in a secret ballot.