Hungary parliament elects new president following scandal

Hungary’s parliament has elected a political novice as president after the resignation of his predecessor, who caused outrage by pardoning a man convicted in a child abuse case, Al Jazeera reports.

The affair has turned into the biggest political crisis that nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban has faced since his return to power in 2010.

Orban ally Katalin Novak resigned as president this month after it was revealed she had pardoned a convicted child abuser’s accomplice.

Last week, ruling party Fidesz nominated Constitutional Court head Tamas Sulyok, 67, to replace Novak, Hungary’s first female president.

On Monday, parliament, where Fidesz’s ruling coalition with the Christian Democratic People’s Party holds a two-thirds majority, approved his appointment, after which he took the oath of office.

He will become president on March 5.

Little known to the broader public, Sulyok became a Constitutional Court judge in 2014 and, two years later, the court’s head.

The opposition has criticised the nomination of politically inexperienced Sulyok. About 3,000 people attended a Sunday protest by four opposition parties, calling for direct presidential elections. The post is largely ceremonial.