Biography


Gabor Demszky served as the Lord Mayor of Budapest between 1990 and 2010. He was first elected in 1990 by the City Council of Budapest, and later, following a change in the election laws, he was voted into office in 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006 directly by the people. He came to prominence as a dissident during the Hungarian Soviet-type dictatorship first as a sociologist dealing with poverty and the Roma minorities. Later, he signed the Charter ’77 declaration and as a result lost his job. Demszky then founded an independent underground publishing house called AB in 1981. In the following decade he published banned Hungarian literature and classics like Koestler, Orwell and Kundera, as well as several Hungarian journals. Because of these underground activities he was harassed and beaten several times, and received a 6-month suspended jail term. He became one of the founders of a Hungarian liberal party, the Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ). In the elections of 1990 he was elected as a Member of Parliament and become the chairman of the National Security Committee. In 2004, he was elected as a Member of the European Parliament. After retiring from politics, he returned to sociology and spent time as a researcher in the Wissenschaftkolleg zu Berlin, NIAS and the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington.