Show of support for Szeklerland in Hungary, Romania

Parliament

This weekend saw demonstrations in Budapest, Debrecen, Szolnok and 14 towns in the Transylvanian segment of Romania in a show of solidarity for ethnic Hungarians living abroad.

In Budapest, a group of 2,000 to 3,000 walked to the Romanian Embassy on Thököly út, toting at the head of the mass a banner that read “Territorial autonomy for Széklerland.” The demonstrations in the two countries were reportedly organized by the Hungarian Civic Cooperation Forum (CÖF) in hopes of obtaining autonomous region status for Széklerland.

Last week, Árpád János Potapi and Balazs Hidvéghi, representing a Hungary-based committee for Szekler autonomy, met with members of the Romanian parliament to push their cause. While Potapi was afterward forced to admit that the Romanian MPs “did not clearly support the idea,” the discussions themselves he labeled a “great achievement.”

Meanwhile, representatives of Fidesz majority coalition partner KDNP drummed up support and attendance for the rally by stating that Hungarians coming together “can help turn the tide for the only national community living in one [region] but without autonomy.”

Opposition party Democratic Coalition (DK) vice president Péter Niedermuller meanwhile argued that the autonomy question “is an issue to be resolved by Romanian political forces and organizations and Hungarian organisations … should not get involved.” Niedermuller reiterated his party’s support of some autonomy for those in Széklerland, but remains opposed to the recently-introduced jus sanguinis dual-citizenship law and subsequent voting rights.

Approximately 1.14 million of Romania’s 19 million citizens are ethnic Hungarians, with about 600,000 living in the Széklerland region of Transylvania.

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