Göncz Árpád (1990-2000)
The translator (the second one actually) of The Lord of the Rings. Sentenced for life after the 1956 Revolution and War of Independence, but as the system thawed, he got amnesty. Before that was a member of a national conservative agrarian party, after that he wasn't allowed into politics for a long time, this led to him to writing and translating. Several of his works was published in the Galaktika magazine I introduced in this thread >>36876
About the end of the Kádár-era and the socialism, he became a founding member of the biggest liberal party the SZDSZ, which after the regime change ended up being the second largest party in the Parliament in 1990. First he was the Speaker of the National Assembly, then was elected as a President. But he was from the opposition, how could this happen?
After the first round of the legislative election, everything seemed possible. Between the first two parties, the MDF (conservative) and the SZDSZ, there wasn't much of a gap. There were talks about grand-coalition between them, but ideologically it wasn't really a fit. After the second round the coalition was created by the MDF, the FKgP (agrarian conservative) and KDNP (christian conservative).
Just before setting up the new government, the MDF's candidate for the Prime Ministry, Antall József, reached out to the second largest SZDSZ - which wasn't going to be a member of the governing coalition -. and formed a pact with them. Opinions on this pact widely differ, and it is fiercely debated, it's a large topic and it's impossible to sort out who is right, so I won't go into that direction. What belongs here that they voted together a number of laws, modifications of the constitution, and part of the deal the MDF let the SZDSZ giving the President, in the person of Göncz.
Additional information: this pact decided that the Prime Minister will be the central figure of the government, and the President has a lesser role.
In 1994 the SZDSZ became a junior partner in a coalition with the MSZP (socialists in name
), so for his next term he was delegated by the governing parties (who had the 2/3 of the seats).
Since our Presidents are in office for 5 years per term, he become a President from the opposition in 1998, when the Fidesz could form a governing coalition after the elections (as a conservative party, they started out as a minor liberal behind the SZDSZ, back in 1990).
As far as I can tell he is widely regarded as a goodish President, he was kinda sold as a grandpa of the nation.
Mádl Ferenc (2000-2005)
A jurist (not a practicing lawyer or a judge, but a researcher and professor), member of Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Was minister without portfolio, then Minister of Education, in the first cabinet, from 1990-1994. He was the opposition candidate for Presidency in 1995, he had to wait to 2000, when the FKgP - a minor coalition partner of the Fidesz - nominated him for the position. He could run for the second term, but he called pass.
As a President he felt... flat, grey, not noteworthy. He is bad looking and spoke weird. He wasn't picked for this barely of a position for his high Charisma stat.