World

Arpad Goncz, Hungary's first president after communism, dies at 93

  • FILE - In this June 9, 2013 file photo former Hungarian President Arpad Goncz is pictured in Budapest, Hungary. Officials say Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015 that Arpad Goncz, a Hungarian who survived a communist-era life sentence to become the nation's first democratically chosen president after the fall of communism, has died. He was 93. (Csilla Cseke/MTI via AP, File)

    FILE - In this June 9, 2013 file photo former Hungarian President Arpad Goncz is pictured in Budapest, Hungary. Officials say Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015 that Arpad Goncz, a Hungarian who survived a communist-era life sentence to become the nation's first democratically chosen president after the fall of communism, has died. He was 93. (Csilla Cseke/MTI via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 21, 2000 file photo, Hungarian President Arpad Goncz, left, meets Pope John Paul II during a private audience at the Vatican. Officials say that Arpad Goncz, a Hungarian who survived a communist-era life sentence to become the nation's first democratically chosen president after the fall of communism, has died. He was 93. Goncz's secretary, Andras Gulyas, told state news wire MTI that Goncz died Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015 surrounded by his family. He did not give a cause of death. Though his post was largely ceremonial, Goncz was credited by many with deftly using his limited powers to enforce Hungary's fledgling democratic constitution, often putting him at odds with Hungary's first post-communist government. (AP Photo/Plinio Lepri, file)

    FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 21, 2000 file photo, Hungarian President Arpad Goncz, left, meets Pope John Paul II during a private audience at the Vatican. Officials say that Arpad Goncz, a Hungarian who survived a communist-era life sentence to become the nation's first democratically chosen president after the fall of communism, has died. He was 93. Goncz's secretary, Andras Gulyas, told state news wire MTI that Goncz died Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015 surrounded by his family. He did not give a cause of death. Though his post was largely ceremonial, Goncz was credited by many with deftly using his limited powers to enforce Hungary's fledgling democratic constitution, often putting him at odds with Hungary's first post-communist government. (AP Photo/Plinio Lepri, file)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, June 8, 1999 file photo, U.S President Bill Clinton shakes hands with with President Arpad Goncz of Hungary in the Oval Office, Washington. Officials say that Arpad Goncz, a Hungarian who survived a communist-era life sentence to become the nation's first democratically chosen president after the fall of communism, has died. He was 93. Goncz's secretary, Andras Gulyas, told state news wire MTI that Goncz died Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015 surrounded by his family. He did not give a cause of death. Though his post was largely ceremonial, Goncz was credited by many with deftly using his limited powers to enforce Hungary's fledgling democratic constitution, often putting him at odds with Hungary's first post-communist government. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds, file)

    FILE - In this Tuesday, June 8, 1999 file photo, U.S President Bill Clinton shakes hands with with President Arpad Goncz of Hungary in the Oval Office, Washington. Officials say that Arpad Goncz, a Hungarian who survived a communist-era life sentence to become the nation's first democratically chosen president after the fall of communism, has died. He was 93. Goncz's secretary, Andras Gulyas, told state news wire MTI that Goncz died Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015 surrounded by his family. He did not give a cause of death. Though his post was largely ceremonial, Goncz was credited by many with deftly using his limited powers to enforce Hungary's fledgling democratic constitution, often putting him at odds with Hungary's first post-communist government. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds, file)  (The Associated Press)

Arpad Goncz, who survived a communist-era life sentence to become Hungary's first democratically chosen president, has died. He was 93.

Parliament deputy speaker Istvan Hiller announced to lawmakers that Goncz died Tuesday, adding, "He was a legend already during his lifetime." Lawmakers stood for a minute of silence in honor of his memory.

Goncz was charged with treason and sentenced to life in prison by Hungary's communist authorities for taking part in the abortive anti-Soviet uprising of 1956. He was released in 1963 under a general amnesty aimed at easing tensions with the West.

Though his post was largely ceremonial, Goncz was credited by many with deftly using his limited powers to enforce Hungary's fledgling democratic constitution, often putting him at odds with the post-communist government.