Árpád Szakasits (1888–1965)
Social democratic politician, originally a stonemason. He served in 1925–8 as vice-president of the building workers’ trade union and then as president until 1938. In 1939, he became general secretary of the Social Democratic Party (SZDP) and in 1940, editor-in-chief of its newspaper, Népszava. In 1945, he became a member of the legislature and state minister in the coalition government. He was deputy prime minister in 1947–8. He was initially against the merger of the social democratic and communist parties, but later accepted the post of chairman of the resulting Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP). He became president of the Republic of Hungary in 1948 and president of the Presidential Council (head of state) in 1949. In 1950, Mátyás Rákosi had him sacked from his party positions and arrested on fabricated charges. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, but released and rehabilitated in 1956. He was not invited to join the revived SZDP under Anna Kéthly. In 1958, he became president of the National Union of Journalists and vice-president of the National Peace Council. He became president of the latter in 1963. He remained a member of the Central Committee of the communist party until his death.
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