Parliament today elected Arpad Goencz, a prominent writer and former political prisoner, as president in a move that completed the country's break with its Communist past.
Goencz had been sentenced to life in prison for his role in the 1956 anti-Communist uprising that was crushed by Soviet troops.
"All my life . . . I have served and will serve the nation's independence, free thought, free speech, free ideas and social justice," Goencz told lawmakers after his election. "I serve Hungarian democracy."
Goencz, 68, had been appointed interim president May 2 by the newly elected, democratic Parliament.
Today's parliamentary vote came less than a week after the failure of a referendum that would have mandated a popular vote for the post of president.
Goencz, who headed the Hungarian Writers' Union before his election as interim president in May, spent six years in jail after Soviet troops crushed the 1956 revolt. He won a reprieve on his life sentence under a 1963 amnesty.
He worked translating British and American novels into Hungarian, and eventually published several novels and short stories.