Marosvásárhely Catholic high school under siege again

The court of Marosvásárhely (Târgu Mureș in Romanian) annulled at first instance the Ministerial decree that ordered the re-establishment of the Ferenc Rákóczi II Roman Catholic Gymnasium (high school in Romanian) in Marosvásárhely. The abstract of the judgment was published on November 29th on the website for Romanian courts. However, the school’s principal, Zsolt Tamási, said in a press release that “the operation of the school is not in danger.”

Romania’s National Anticorruption Directorate launched an investigation against Zsolt Tamási and former chief education inspector, Stefan Somesan, in October of 2016, saying that they acted unlawfully in the establishment of the Roman Catholic Gymnasium of Marosvásárhely in 2014. The lawsuit is still not closed, but, as a consequence of the accusations, the school was later closed. In February of 2018, the Romanian Parliament passed a law about the re-establishment of the school, but a month later the Constitutional Court declared the document unconstitutional. The school was then reopened only on August 9th, 2018, on the basis of a decree adopted by the Ministry of Education.

But, last year, the People’s Movement Party, Unirea High School and Unirea High School’s Parent Council sued the Ministry of Education and the Catholic gymnasium, asking the court to cancel the founding document of the Ferenc Rákóczi II Roman Catholic Gymnasium. According to the applicants filing the lawsuit, the ministry took four administrative decisions that were applicable only to the re-establishment of this school and were thus discriminatory.

Marius Pașcan, president of the People’s Movement Party, stated earlier that it is unacceptable that the Education Act 2011/1 applies only to Romanians, while it is optional or can even be evaded by minorities through ministerial decrees and emergency government regulations. According to Pașcan, the re-establishment of the school was a result of an unsavory political deal of the former ruling parties, and they acted under the pressure of the Hungarian Government.

As a result, the Court of Marosvásárhely has annulled at first instance three Ministerial decrees that apply to the school, and annulled a fourth one partially, which also applies to the school. The court annulled the decree that ordered the re-establishment of the Ferenc Rákóczi II Roman Catholic Gymnasium and the one ordering that Zsolt Tamási be the principal of the school temporarily.

“I can’t even imagine what arguments led to this decision,” Zsolt Tamási told Hungarian news agency MTI. He added, they are waiting for the judgment, but he did not doubt that the institution would appeal against it.

Tamási also told Transindex.ro that the decision of the court will not affect the operation of the school, as it annuls the ministerial decree, not the operation of the gymnasium. “We are sure that the reestablishment of the school was legal. And its operation will continue without interruption,” he added.

Title image: The school was finally reopened on August 9 last year. Photo: Székelyhon

Author: Orsi Sarány