Your president, Pál Schmitt, resigned this week [amid charges that he plagiarized his doctoral dissertation].
The [president is] . . . a friend and a great hero in Hungarian sport history. It is his own decision, and the only thing we can do is respect it.
I understood that the prime minister had the power and the president was more or less a figurehead.
The point is that power is regulated by the constitution. The first thesis of the constitution is that nobody can exercise power by himself.
Your party has a two-thirds majority in parliament. That’s absolute power.
Even with two-thirds majority, the caucus cannot do anything.
They have passed more than 368 bills since the 2010 election.
They can pass whatever regulation they would like to do so if it is not against the constitution.
Since you came to power, the constitution has been completely rewritten.
We are very proud of that because that was our mission. Hungary was the only Central European country that was not able to create a new constitution after the collapse of the communist regime.
You were at the Round Table [talks in Hungary] where the constitution was rewritten in 1989.
When we rewrote the constitution, we said this is an interim constitution.
But the entire constitution was rewritten, and you had a big role in that.
Unfortunately, not enough. I was involved in the reconstruction of the constitution, but the communists were there as well.
Your critics say you rushed the constitution through last year without consulting the opposition.
That is factually false. There was a commission created by the parliament. It invited all the parties represented in the parliament — even the opposition — to be part of that process.
Isn’t it fair to say the outcome of the legislation has been to concentrate all power in your hands?
The constitution by itself does not make it possible to concentrate any kind of power.
You created a new judicial authority, the National Judicial Office, which the Venice Commission [of the Council of Europe] has attacked because it has too much power. Moreover, the commission also criticized recent legislation which says that judges are now forced to retire at 62 instead of 70.
The general age limit for any kind of job is 62.
That’s not true. People who work at universities here are allowed to teach until 70.
That’s a point, whether we should reduce that age or not. I am not against it, but there are a lot of opponents from the professors. But basically the average age to retire is 62.