Former Hungarian President Árpád Göncz in June 2013 | Csilla Cseke / MTI

Hungary's first democratically elected president dies

October 6, 2015

Hungary's first post-Communist president, Árpád Göncz passed away in Budapest this Tuesday at the age of 93. He held the presidency, a largely ceremonial post, for two terms (1990-2000) as Hungary moved to a market economy and paved the way into NATO and the EU.

Árpád Göncz, a lawyer by trade, was jailed for life for his involvement in the 1956 anti-Stalinist uprising in Hungary, which was crushed by Soviet tanks. In jail, he learnt English and became a writer-translator best known in Hungary in this capacity as the translator of 'The Lord of the Rings'.

Called by the Reuters news agency as Hungary's most popular politician, Göncz was elected to the post of Presdient by Hungary's first democratically elected Parliament in 1990 and then re-elected in 1995.


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