With just over a month before the Hungarian parliament is set to elect the country’s new president, conservative presidential candidate Katalin Novák has the approval of the majority of Hungarians, a survey from the Századvég think tank has revealed.
In a poll published by Hungarian daily Magyar Hírlap, Novák is widely known across the Hungarian electorate, with 92 percent of respondents revealing they were familiar with her name.
Public perception of Novák is mainly positive, with 51 percent of those who know of the Fidesz-KDNP preferred presidential candidate having a favorable opinion of her; 42 percent had a negative view of Novák while 7 percent of respondents held no firm opinion either way.
The mandate of the incumbent president, János Áder, expires on May 10, and cabinet minister Gergely Gulyás announced in late December that the National Assembly would elect a new head of state on March 10, meeting the deadline set in the constitution.
Novák, 44, is a trained economist and has been the vice-president of Fidesz since November 2017. She has been the minister for family affairs since October 2020, responsible for implementing several government policies aimed at supporting young couples and rewarding those who have children as the country fights demographic challenges caused by a declining birthrate.
“We don’t have to import children. We have to concentrate on helping our own people to be able to raise their children,” Novák told U.S. talk show host Tucker Carlson during a recently-aired documentary by the Fox News political commentator.
Hungarians can obtain interest-free credit worth approximately $30,000 which does not need to be paid back if they have three or more children. Student loans for those who have three or more children are written off, and mothers with four or more children enjoy a lifelong exemption on personal income tax.
Housing subsidies are also available to large families, in addition to financial support to acquire automobiles that can fit larger families.
In Hungary — as in most Central European countries with the notable exception of Romania — the presidential position is mostly ceremonial, with some limited powers not to countersign laws passed by parliament.
The president is elected by the unicameral parliament consisting of 199 MPs. In the first round, the winning candidate must acquire two-thirds of the votes. If this is not achieved, the second round only requires a simple majority of the voting MPs, of which the ruling Fidesz party holds a two-thirds majority.