Palotás subjective on dr. Péter Polt

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Péter Polt was born in the very same year (1955) when I had to face the challenges of the world. Life connected us not only by the date but we had met several times and mostly suddenly during my life.He pursued his studies as a jurist and I did as an economist, but the army brought us together in the army base in Kalocsa. While several thousands of us spent the that-time mandatory eleven months together, I could hardly recall more than twenty-thirty names. Both Péter’s name and face had remained in my memory. Although he was not a loudmouthed person calling „enforced” attention to himself by his behavior. He was quiet, moderate but calm and moral even in „tough” situations. I awoke to the consciousness of the value of this quality only in the following years at the university. I liked the company, the community also young – probably it was what directed me as a public figure – but I was still not able to make unclouded relationship with many of my university-mates (my fellow-soldiers). I attended school with many young scamps in our class who were active, friendly, participated in mostly all university programs, were good students but I still kept away from daily relations with them. The mutual girl-friends, group-mates often asked me what my problem was with them, why I kept the distance. I could not and did not want to tell that these young ones, who were so sympathetic now, could not stand the test of the army, the atmosphere in the army base which were different from the normal social values. Also their behavior was beneath themselves in the tough and often unjust situations. It was when it became my conviction that the institution of the so-called compulsory conscription would not do. Most of the young men could have probably lived all their lives without having to feel ashamed of any of their behavior. But at the same time they were not born heroes and could not give a good answer for the abnormal situations.The reason why Péter’s person – together with a few of his mates – had remained in me was because I felt it all the time that our scale of values (I surely did not call it that way that time) was the same and we could and had to overcome most situations with proper self-possession, often with humor and sometimes with self-irony.

We had common things neither at the time of military service nor in the following years, this way we met neither during university years nor in the following years. I still had not forgotten his person. It was many years later when I got to know that he had finished the university of law and was a lawyer in several criminal actions nearly for ten years.

More than fifteen years had passed after the military service when we met in course of the 1994 parliamentary elections. I had been living in the 16th district of the capitol since 1980, he had just moved to the district with his family and, as far as I could remember, with his two children. The younger one was about one year old. It was when I got to know that he had got connected with political public life and was going to be nominated for mandate as candidate of the FIDESZ. Because of the same place of residence the fellow-soldier became a political rival!

The common scale of values came to surface immediately in this case too. I never doubted a moment that our electoral „battle” would not damage the picture formed of each other. The political opponent meant enemy for none of us, though we were really rivals. At this election the MSZP gained a total victory in the individual electoral districts. This victory was far not so convincing in our district as in the entirety of the Country. I shared the second and third places with Péter.

Next I met him in 1995 when he was nominated for general deputy of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Citizenship Rights by the FIDESZ. In a democratic country this assignment for me is one of the highest appreciation attainable for a jurist, which is on a level with the constitutional judges and/or the judges of the Supreme Court. I was glad that they chose a person extremely sympathetic to me for this position and it made me feel good too that it was when also the representatives of my age-class began to undertake and get part on the highest grade of directing the society. It is a specially unusual occurrence in the jurist society. My life so ordained – partly against my will – that in the following years I met Péter Polt in his office many times. Sometime we met concerning my own petitions, sometime I checked up some legal cases with him as president of the Enterpreneurs’ National Alliance. I was connected with him immediately at the third of my phone calls, but I could not recall such call when I was not called back within a day. Also as parliamentary commissioner he has remained that man who is quiet voiced but expressing his opinion firmly but not forcing it on others, who I got to know in the army.

I can declare myself lucky because I have met and could talk to many people with really big knowledge and acknowledgement in their professions in my life. Of course also with many well-known ones, of whom people thought much more than the truth. It was a good inside measure during my conversations whether my negotiators’ sentences told me something new in a subject, whether they added to the well-known reasoning or whether they could make the same assertion clearer in another light. If they did then I always felt that the spent time was not senseless and I would gladly continue the conversation with him sometime later. I have never expected the world-saving thought from these talks. But it is still important to me to feel that there was something „surplus” given by the past time. This surplus has been always sensibly present in the conversations with Péter Polt.

According to what I expressed in my earlier writing, I was not glad that Kálmán Györgyi gave up his assignment as Attorney General. I felt it in spite of the fact that during Kálmán Györgyi’s assignment I had to endure unjust proceedings from the police and the state attorney’s office directed by the Attorney General. I was seized with dubiety also when the Hungarian press raised it for the first time that Péter Polt could be made likely as Kálmán Györgyi’s probable successor. Though the General Attorney’s assignment means the highest legal appreciation too, in my opinion it does not precede the social appreciation of the Commissioner for Citizenship Rights, it is rather equal with that. But in a transitional social age the General Attorney is more exposed to the intention of political intervention. The state attorney cannot elude even the most delicate situations. Kálmán Györgyi had to make a stand – and not always successfully – on the case of the „media board of trustees”, at László Juszt’s supposed betrayal of state secret, then soon on Kaya Ibrahim. I consider it true generally that independence of parties is important in the person of the Attorney General of the country. But if I accept that a man’s world concept is his private business then its existence, his earlier manifestations about it cannot be considered as reason for preclusion. The real question is much rather that he shall not be the biased, extreme representative of his own world concept. He shall be able to accept others’ different being and as state attorney he shall keep to legality, constitutionality, truth, and with proper emphatic attitude. I have no doubts about the existence of the above conditions in Péter Polt’s case.

I talked about it with Péter Polt at the time of the „gossip” and also told him my misgivings. Of course having respect for his decision, will. Then a few days ago in one of the morning programs of television Péter Polt, already nominated officially by the President of the Republic, answered the host’s question by saying that in his opinion the top of professional appreciation for a criminalist was the assignment of the attorney general. Since then I kept my fingers crossed for him without doubts to get the needed support for his assignment in the parliamentary voting without overtones. I am glad that the voting ended successfully and he was elected for Attorney General of the country by a support significantly beyond the necessary proportional number of votes. I hope it for the sake of all of us that his intentions will come true with successes and my doubts will disappear in oblivion.

Péter Polt cannot be ranked among my friends in the ordinary sense of the word. We have not met in the sphere of my private life. We have never spent our spare time together etc. But I take his person for such a man, and I handle him so in myself too, like those of my friends, with whom I had many-many common experiences. And the future is incalculable.

04.05.2000 János Palotás