Hungarian President Confronts Lawmakers First Time Since 2010

Hungarian President Janos Ader returned an amendment of the country’s media law to parliament citing a procedural error, the first objection to legislation by a head of state since 2010.

The law may not be valid because Parliament made one error that it must correct, Ader said in a letter to lawmakers published by state-run news service MTI. Changes to the media law were otherwise “impeccable” in their content and form, according to the letter.

Ader assumed the largely ceremonial post this month after Pal Schmitt resigned because Semmelweis University stripped him of his doctorate for plagiarizing parts of his thesis.

Schmitt, who like Ader was an ally of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, signed every piece of legislation the government sent him. European Union concerns over some of those laws, including a judicial overhaul authored by Ader that the bloc says infringes on courts’ independence, blocked Hungary’s talks on an International Monetary Fund-led loan.

The media law, which created a regulator led by appointees of Orban’s Fidesz party, failed to meet press-freedom commitments even after changes demanded by the EU last year, according to Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

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