It is with deep regret that the Venice Commission announces the death of Professor László Sólyom, former President of the Republic of Hungary (2005-2010) and former member of the Venice Commission (1997-2005).
Mr. Sólyom was a member (starting in 1989) and then President of the Constitutional Court of Hungary between 1990 and 1998 and, in this capacity, participated in the work of the Venice Commission on constitutional revision in his country. Under his presidency, the Constitutional Court established itself as an institution with a determining role in the establishment of parliamentary democracy in Hungary. He contributed to the abolition of the death penalty, the protection of information rights, the defense of freedom of expression and the inclusion in the Constitution of a partnership pact for homosexual couples.
As a member of the Venice Commission, he participated in the drafting of several opinions relating to the legislation on Constitutional Courts, relating to Albania, Georgia, Latvia and the Republic of Moldova, as well as the report on the decisions constitutional courts and equivalent bodies and their execution. Outside the field of Constitutional Courts, he was one of the two rapporteurs for the opinion on the draft law on the recognition, restitution, and compensation of property of Albania.
Mr Sólyom was to date the only member of the Venice Commission to access the prestigious position of head of state, which crowned a political career that began with his participation in the founding of the Hungarian Democratic Forum at the very beginning of the democratic transition (1987).