László Sólyom

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László Sólyom


3rd President of the Republic of Hungary
Assumed office 
August 5, 2005
Preceded by Ferenc Mádl
Succeeded by incumbent

Born January 3, 1942
Political party independent
Spouse Erzsébet Sólyom

Image:Coat of arms of Hungary.png

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László Sólyom (pronounced [ˈlaːsloː ˈʃoːjom]; listen ) born on January 3 1942 is the President of Hungary, having overcome the governing Hungarian Socialist Party nominee Katalin Szili in the election on June 7 2005. He was sworn in on the same day and he took office on August 5, 2005.


[edit] His election

He was nominated by the environmentalist civil organisation Védegylet, including notable public figures from both the left and the right wing. As the Constitution of Hungary specifies, the President is elected by the Parliament of Hungary, so he had to acquire the support of Parliamentary parties. The opposition parties, Fidesz and MDF, also endorsed him to become President of Hungary. However, if the governing parties had been united in support of Szili, Sólyom would not have secured enough votes to take the Presidency; but because Szili was not acceptable to the SZDSZ, the smaller party in the governing coalition, they abstained from voting, and Sólyom's election was secured.

[edit] Biography

He was born in the southern Hungarian city of Pécs. He graduated as a lawyer at the University of Pécs in 1965. He worked as a professor at universities and law institutes in Budapest: at the ELTE from 1983, at PPKE from 1996, and at Julius Andrássy German Language University from 2002. He also worked in Jena, Germany for 3 years.

His political career began as legal advisor for civil and environmental organisations in the late 1980s. As a founder of Danube Circle, he also had a significant role in environmental protection issues like preventing the construction of the Nagymaros dam which would have damaged the habitat of a northern part of the Danube. He was one of the founders of the Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF) in 1987, and represented that party in the Opposition Roundtable negotiations that played a very important part in Hungary's transition to parliamentary democracy. In 1989, for a short time he was member of the executive committee of the MDF.

However, he left party politics in late 1989, as he was elected into the Constitutional Court of Hungary. He gained the presidency of the court half year later, and held that position until 1998. During this time, the Constitutional Court had a very important role in laying the groundwork for and strengthening democracy in Hungary. In this role, he significantly contributed to the removal of capital punishment, the protection of information rights, the freedom of opinion and of conscience, as well as the constitutional protection of domestic partnerships of homosexuals, which measures brought wide international acclaim for the Constitutional Court of Hungary.

He had a controversial principle of activism based on the invisible constitution, motivating the decisions of the Court by the 'spirit' or 'morals' of the Constitution rather than its explicitly written form, advocating the principle of equal human dignity even over the letters of the constitution.

After the end of his 9-year-long mandate, he continued his scholarly career, continued giving lectures in universities, and became founder of Védegylet, an environmentalist and civil rights non-governmental organisation in 2000.

He is married, has two children and nine grandchildren.

[edit] References

[edit] External links

Preceded by:
Ferenc Mádl
List of Presidents of HungarySucceeded by:
id:László Sólyom

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László Sólyom

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