NEWS: hungary
Hungary has elected Katalin Novak as its first female president.

Hun­gary’s par­lia­ment has elect­ed Katal­in Novak, a close ally of Prime Min­is­ter Vik­tor Orban, as the EU mem­ber’s first female president.

Novak, who most recent­ly served as min­is­ter for fam­i­ly pol­i­cy, described her elec­tion Thurs­day as a vic­to­ry for women.

She was elect­ed to the most­ly cer­e­mo­ni­al role by 137 votes to 51 in par­lia­ment dom­i­nat­ed by Orban’s right-wing Fidesz par­ty ahead of oppo­si­tion chal­lenger Peter Rona, an economist.

“We women raise chil­dren, care for the sick, cook, are in two places at once if need be, earn mon­ey, teach, win Nobel prizes, clean win­dows,” Novak said in a speech before the vote.

“We know the pow­er of words, but we can keep qui­et and lis­ten if we have to, and defend our fam­i­lies with courage beyond men’s if dan­ger threat­ens,” Hun­gary’s youngest head of state, 44, said.

“It is because I am a woman, not in spite of it, that I want to be a good pres­i­dent of Hun­gary,” she said.

Ear­li­er, she post­ed a pho­to of her­self, her hus­band and three chil­dren on social media, say­ing it “means a lot to me that my fam­i­ly is here with me.”

Novak has been the face of gov­ern­ment poli­cies, includ­ing gen­er­ous tax breaks and aid to encour­age young fam­i­lies to have more children.

Thurs­day’s vote comes weeks before par­lia­men­tary elec­tions on April 3, where Orban faces a fierce bat­tle to win a fourth con­sec­u­tive term in pow­er since 2010.

Peter Mar­ki-Zay, who is lead­ing a six-par­ty oppo­si­tion hop­ing to unseat Orban next month, has accused Novak of being “unfit” for the pres­i­den­tial post because of his par­ti­san background.

Novak will suc­ceed Janos Ader, co-founder of Orban’s right-wing rul­ing par­ty Fidesz, who has held the post since 2012. She will take office after Ader’s term expires on May 10.

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