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President marks 1st year in office

Speaking on the first anniversary of his election, President László Sólyom said on Saturday that he had to do more to win over the public to his ideas if he wanted to carry them to fruition. Commenting on opinion polls suggesting a decline in his popularity, Sólyom said that while he was certainly not pleased, he believed that the polls were based on people's emotions - triggered by the media - rather than on his actual performance. Despite that, he said, what people think about their president is important. “One major lesson is that I spent too little time in the public eye,” Sólyom said, adding that he planned to pay more attention to publicizing the work done by the president and the reasons why he acted in one way or another. Sólyom said he had met with 32 other presidents over the past year and had built up good working relations. He did a good job, he said, of helping them to understand Hungary's position and aspirations in the region, which are determined to a great degree by the ethnic Hungarian minorities in neighboring countries. Asked about signing the government bill calling for austerity measures, the president said that in the given situation, there was no better alternative, and as a former head of the Constitutional Court, he was not convinced that the move was unconstitutional. He also said he would propose a new chief prosecutor to parliament on the first day of its autumn session. (Népszava, Magyar Hírlap)