Romania and Slovakia: Great and Bad News for Hungarian Minorities in European Parliament & Local Elections

ROMANIA: Resounding Success for the Hungarians of Romania

Soaring at 6.5 percent in the European Parliament elections on June 9, the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ) garnered well above the necessary 5 percent threshold with over 579,000 votes to date. Gyula Winkler and Loránt Vincze will continue to represent the interests of the 1.2 million-strong Hungarian community for the next five years in Brussels. RMDSZ is a member of the largest EP group, the European People’s Party (EPP).

As predicted, the extremist, anti-Hungarian, anti-Semitic Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR) political party increased their position from one Member of the European Parliament to six, garnering a disturbing 14.9 percent of the vote. Meanwhile its splinter party, SOS Romania, met the 5 percent threshold for the first time and will have two seats in the European Parliament. The large, mainstream parties failed to overtly confront AUR, often striking backroom deals with its leader, George Simion.

 

Anti-Hungarian sloganeering by AUR and SOS characterized their campaigns. In the county seat of Satu Mare/Szatmárnémeti, for example, the county leader of the National Liberal Party (PNL) – Romania’s ruling coalition member – Adrian Cozma, joined forces with AUR specifically on an anti-Hungarian platform. On the day of elections, the following text messages saying “Go vote so that we can ban Hungarians from our institutions. The people of Satu Mare need a real Romanian leader, Adrian Cozma” were sent out in the town, reported Maszol.ro. RMDSZ filed police reports and no national PNL leaders condemned the incidents.

Meanwhile in Bihor/Bihar County, residents of Salonta/Nagyszalonta and Oradea/Nagyvárad received the following text messages: “Come, let’s rid ourselves of the Hungarians in office. They should all go to Hungary. Come vote!”

RMDSZ Holds Its Own In Concurrently Held Local Elections

With 99 percent of the vote counted, the people elected Hungarian mayors in  204 localities (RMDSZ 195,  Transylvanian Hungarian Alliance 5,  independent-RMDSZ aligned 4). Many places will have overwhelming or exclusive RMDSZ members in their local councils. The party also maintained leadership in four Romanian county councils: Satu Mare/Szatmár, Mures/Maros, Harghita/Hargita and Covasna/Kovászna, all with significant ethnic Hungarian populations.

 

SLOVAKIA: The Alliance Fails to Meet Threshold for European Parliament Representation

Another European Parliament legislative cycle will pass without an ethnic Hungarian party having representation in Brussels. Coming in at 3.9 percent of the vote, Alliance, the umbrella party of ethnic Hungarians – Slovakia’s largest national minority- garnered only 57,350 votes.

However, ethnic Hungarian and former prime minister, as well as interior minister of Slovakia Lajos Ódor, led the Progressive Slovakia/Progresivne Slovensko (PS) list, which won the EP elections at 27.81 percent or 410,844 votes, and will have six seats in Brussels.

Born in Komarno/Komárom, Ódor told the country’s Hungarian-language daily Új Szó on June 9 that “There are interesting points in the PS’s party platform for minorities. For certain, I would like to continue what I’ve already begun, go among the people, meeting them. I will continue to keep one foot on the ground at home. Among the PS’s goals is addressing topics affecting minorities; it’s in the party’s DNA.”

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