Sandor Wekerle

Dr. Sandor Wekerle was born in the fateful year of 1848 and was Hungary’s first non-noble Premier. He served from 17 November 1892 to 1 January 1895. He was appointed Premier again, serving from 8 April 1906 until 17 January 1910. During this time, he oversaw an effort by the King to introduce universal sufferage into Hungary as had been done in Austria in 1907, but the ministers of parliament so resisted the scheme (and the Army’s refusal to create a separate army for Hungary) that they held up the 10-year “Delegations” negotiations over the customs union between Austria and Hungary.

Wekerle stood on the podium as armed Honved troops stormed the parliament and forcibly closed it down. The customs union was then negotiated, some concessionary bones thrown to the nationalists regarding the army, and Wekerle got back to business implementing new customs rules.

During this time, he was also Hungarian Finance Minister (from 1906 to 1909), resigning after his program to establish a national Hungarian bank failed. This scandal also fixed his position as Premier. Wekerle became Premier of Hungary for the third time on 20 August 1917, succeeding Móric Graf Esterházy von Galantha.