Budapest, April 8, 2018. On the evening of his third consecutive electoral victory, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán thanks the excited supporters from the podium who gathered in front of the Bálna cultural center, bordering the Danube. A few steps to the left of the leader «Illibéral», Katalin Novák, multicolored dress and orange dangling earrings with the Fidesz logo, the ruling party, drinks his words. The speech finished, Orbán, Novák and the executives of the conservative national team sing the Magyar national anthem like a church song, followed by an ecstatic crowd cheering the triumph of Fidesz.
At the time, Katalin Novák served as Secretary of State for Family and Youth, served as one of the vice-presidencies of the formation controlling Hungary with an iron fist since 2010, and had just won a deputy seat. 1is October 2020, the 40-year-old landed an influential family ministry without a portfolio. Next spring, the ambassador of the birth policy of the executive, dubbed on December 22, 2021 by Viktor Orbán, should easily obtain the anointing of Parliament and become the first woman to rule Hungary.
Originally from Szeged, a large university town in southern Hungary, Katalin Novák will recover, barring a cataclysm, the chair of János Áder, forced to retire on May 10, 2022 at the end of his second five-year term, as provided for in the Constitution. The vote will take place in the thirty to sixty days preceding the end of the current mandate.
Novák was not Orbán’s preferred option: the prime minister wanted László Köver, president of the National Assembly, to become the head of state. But the co-founder of Fidesz (in March 1988), close to the captain of Hungary, declined the offer.
«Katalin NováK walks ahead of a row of men with graying temples. With this consecration, Orbán warns his party that only loyalty counts and warns his people that only those who support him wholeheartedly can get advancement ”, analyzes Gergely Márton, political journalist for the liberal weekly HVG. “The politician says she won’t change and let the glory go to her head if she is elected president. His promise, however, involves another reading. At Palais Sándor, Katalin Novak will remain an unconditional follower and a disciplined follower of Orbán.»
A graduate in economics and law, Katalin Novák began her rich professional career as an attaché at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs between 2001 and 2003, then stopped her career for seven years to support her husband’s work and raise her three children in Germany, near Frankfurt.
After her long parental leave, she advised the head of the Magyar diplomacy János Mártonyi (2010-2012) and headed the cabinet of the Ministry of Human Resources (2012-2014). His involvement and his trilingualism (English, French, German) captivated his peers, to the point of attracting the attention of Orbán.
One thing led to another, Katalin Novák rose to rank among the essentials of an ultra-masculine government. Its natalist measures, combining subsidies, favorable credits and fiscal carrots, stemmed the demographic decline while installing babies as tools of the anti-migrant policy of the executive.
VRP of Orranism across the globe, the multilingual lawyer seduces the American alt-right and the tenors of the European far right. Since 2019, Novák has chaired the Political Network for Values, an international “pro-life” organization that defends the classic family model and religious freedom.
In March 2021, it’s her who announced on Twitter the break with the European People’s Party (EPP), the great continental right-wing family tired of the excesses of the Orbán regime. Last fall, the French-speaking Novák, decorated with the Legion of Honor in 2019 for her contribution to the rapprochement between Paris and Budapest, coordinated the remarkable Hungarian visits of Eric Zemmour and Marine Le Pen. Supporters in power, hailing Novák’s near-folded accession to the presidency of Hungary, praise his experience, his attachment to traditional family values and his interpersonal skills.
According to the daily Hungarian Nation, his profile “Double graduate minister”, from “Builder of Fidesz’s external relations”, from “Confident speaker of key European languages”, from “Thoroughbred conservative” and of “Agile leader of family policy” legitimizes the designation of Katalin Novák as candidate. “It’s a smart and skillful choice. This decision proves that Fidesz embodies a modern popular right-wing party, including successful politicians who are appreciated by the public ”, completes the political scientist Ágoston Sámuel Mráz, close to the power in place.
Out of the political arena, the sporty Novák boxing diligently, skis since his childhood, run regularly, sometimes practice archery and share certain cooking moments on his Facebook page. This daughter of a pediatrician and an ENT specialist maintains a powerful working girl image, but attributes a retrograde role to women. In a controversial video from December 2020, the protégé of Viktor Orbán declared that these “Do not always have to compete with men”, urging them to consider themselves “Happy to be able to give life” and to “Dare to say yes to the child”.
Impartial or “puppet”?
Katalin Novák is preparing to become the fifth person to take the head of post-communist Hungary, following the anti-fascist and anti-Bolshevik resistance fighter Árpád Göncz, jurists Ferenc Mádl and László Sólyom, double Olympic fencing champion Pál Schmitt ( who plagiarized his doctoral thesis and resigned in April 2012) and lawyer János Áder, a long-time friend of Orbán and co-creator of Fidesz. His election requires two-thirds of the votes in the National Assembly, but the procedure should only be a formality with 133 Fidesz out of 199 deputies. The opposition has not yet chosen his foal.
Critics of Novák believe she will serve Orbán, whether he wins or fails in three months to the united opposition led by Péter Márki-Zay. “The appointment of Katalin Novák brings the ultimate blow to the presidential function, whose prestige has continued to deteriorate after Árpád Göncz [président de 1990 à 2000, ndlr] and whose remains of authority fly away with the departure of János Áder “, tackles columnist Zsolt Kerner. “Novák is not suited to elevate the role of Head of State above parties, incapable of uniting a divided nation, but she is an excellent candidate for Fidesz”, adds the pen of the site 24.hu.
Interviewed through the Index portal, Katalin Novák claims that she will not be a “Puppet” of the Fidesz executive, will defend “The unity of the nation” and “Will never endorse the unraveling of the rule of law”. With the election of Katalin Novák, Fidesz would retain access to power until at least 2027. If Viktor Orbán wins again, the president loyal to the national-populist leader will likely help consolidate the regime. And if Péter Márki-Zay and the motley opposition alliance prevail, it will have a significant nuisance capacity on the activities of the new majority.
Source: Slate.fr by www.slate.fr.
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