Following the outbreak of a controversy surrounding his 1992 doctoral dissertation, President Pál Schmitt announced his resignation to the National Assembly on 2 April 2012. Fidesz politician and incumbent MEP János Áder was elected on 2 May to a five-year term by a vote of 262–40, and assumed office on 10 May 2012.
Since 2012, several journalists and political scientists had assumed that Viktor Orbán intended to move from his position as Prime Minister to become head of state at the next presidential election. As Népszabadság author Ildikó Csuhaj quoted an anonymous source in her article dated 21 May 2014, the "role of head of state, representation of a united nation is not just a momentary desire, but a realistically thought out option", and "this is a dilemma for the Prime Minister for the time being". Csuhaj argued that the governing coalition were considering the adoption of a French-type semi-presidential system, as the government had a supermajority in the National Assembly, and in this event János Lázár would have succeeded Orbán as Prime Minister, according to reports from Figyelő. In an interview with Handelsblatt in October 2012, Orbán said that "a presidential system is probably more appropriate to implement difficult reforms than a parliamentary system". Following the resignation of Schmitt in April 2012, Orbán told a conference at the Supreme Court that "there were numerous arguments for a presidential system" during the constitutional process in 2011, but in the event they did not adopt that "for historical and law-abiding reasons".
In early 2015, however, Fidesz lost its two-thirds majority following the 2014 Hungarian Internet tax protests and a subsequent decrease in support for the government. The governing party suffered defeats at two parliamentary by-elections in February and April 2015, both in Veszprém County; thus it was unable to amend the constitution unilaterally after that. Before the by-election in February 2015, János T. Juhász, editor of the left-wing newspaper Népszava, wrote that the main significance of the by-election was to prevent Orbán becoming President of Hungary "with absolute power for nine years". In May 2015, Orbán said to Hír TV, "the probability is less than zero" that he would become President after 2017. That position "requires a different political character, who represents the unity of the nation". On 13 December 2015, the 26th congress of the ruling Fidesz party re-elected Viktor Orbán as party leader. He said in his speech that he was ready to lead the party into the forthcoming parliamentary election and to continue to serve as prime minister if Fidesz wins re-election in 2018. With that statement, Orbán made it clear that he does not intend to become President, succeeding Áder during the 2017 indirect presidential election.