The Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ) held its electoral congress at the weekend, where it also launched a “pragmatic Transylvanism” initiative and stood up for the use of Hungarian and Szekler symbols. These sparked a strong backlash from the country’s Romanian majority both in traditional and social media.
The weekend electoral congress of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ) re-elected President Hunor Kelemen (51) for a third consecutive term and also launched an action plan called “pragmatic Transylvanism” and stood up for the use of Hungarian and Szekler symbols.
“We are nobody’s enemies, we are part of the Hungarian nation which is the most natural thing for us, but we are also citizens of Romania”, Kelemen said at the congress. “(…) we fight for our individual and collective rights, we want free use of our national symbols and are looking for partners in our economic catching up.”
The issue of the indigenous ethnic Hungarians of Transylvania – which was part of Hungary until the end of WWI – remains a thorny one for most Romanians, some of whom fear a perceived “Hungarian revisionism”.
Former Romanian President Traian Băsescu (2004-2014) lashed out against Romanian opposition politicians Raluca Turcan and Dan Barna for attending a congress saying their smiles were “the grins of impotence and servitude towards a political group that has lately become a herald of Budapest’s revisionism”.
Another Romanian politician, former Prime Minister Mihai Tudose (2017-2018) said on his Facebook page Hungarians should only use their national symbols within the confines of their homes.
“BUT outside of their homes, this COUNTRY where they, the ethnic Hungarians live is Romania! Its anthem is that of Romania. Its flag is that of Romania. That’s it”, Tudose wrote. Last year he made a highly inflammatory remark regarding the usage of the Szekler flag by Transylvanian municipalities saying he would hang Szeklers alongside their flags.
Title image: Deputies voting at the RMDSZ Congress (MTI/István Biró)