László Sólyom, Former President of Hungary
László Sólyom was born on 3rd January 1942 in Pécs.
He graduated from the Faculty of Political and Legal Sciences of the University of Pécs in 1965 and the same year also qualified as a librarian in the National Széchényi Library.
Between 1966 and 1969 he worked as assistant lecturer at the Institute of Civil Law of the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena. Between 1969 and 1978 he was a fellow of the Institute of Political and Legal Sciences of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Until 1975 he worked as a librarian at the Library of Parliament.
He started working on Torts and Damages.
From the eighties onwards he worked in the field of the Right of Personality and Privacy, and introduced the right of data protection in Hungary, thus shifting the focus of his activity to constitutional rights and later to theoretical questions of constitutional jurisdiction too.
In 1978 he was associate professor and between 1983 and 1998 university professor at the Department of Civil Law of the Eötvös Loránd University Budapest.
Since 1995 he has been university professor at the Faculty of Law of the Pázmány Péter Catholic University Budapest. He was Head of the Department of Comparative Private and Public Law and of the Doctoral Degree Programme till his appointment as President.
He obtained his doctorate at the University of Jena in 1969.
In 1981 he became doctor of Political and Legal Sciences of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
In 1998 he won the Humboldt Prize to foreign social scientists, a high German research award.
In 1999 he was made doctor honoris causa of the University of Cologne.
In 1999 and 2000 he was visiting professor at the University of Cologne.
He has been corresponding member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences since 2001.
Since the early 1980s he has been a legal advisor to civil and environmental movements, and has been a member of Duna Kör (Danube Circle). In 1988 and 1989 he was member of various civil organisations which played a significant role in the transition to democracy (e.g. Nyilvánosság Klub [Club for Freedom of the Press] and Független Jogász Fórum [Independent Lawyers’ Forum]). He was a founding member of the Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF) and a member of its presidency between March 1989 and November 1990. He attended the sessions of the Opposition Roundtable on behalf of MDF and participated in the National Roundtable Negotiations in 1990.
On 24th November 1989 Parliament elected him a judge to the newly established Constitutional Court. He was deputy president of the Contitutional Court until summer 1990 and was elected by his peers president of the Constitutional Court three times between 1990 and 1998, a position he held until the end of his mandate.
He has been a member of the Védegylet (Protect the Future, Society for Our Natural and Cultural Heritage) since it was founded in March 2000.
In 1998 he was awarded the Grand Cross with Star of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
In 1999 he was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary.
In 2003 he received the medal of the Nagy Imre Order of Merit.
His wife is a secondary school teacher with an M.A. degree in Hungarian and psychology. The couple have two children and nine grandchildren.
The National Assembly of Hungary elected László Sólyom President of the Republic on 7th June 2005.