Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania

The Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (DAHR; Hungarian: Romániai Magyar Demokrata Szövetség, RMDSZ; Romanian: Uniunea Democrată Maghiară din România, UDMR) is a political party in Romania which aims to represent the significant Hungarian minority of Romania.[12]

Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania
Romániai Magyar Demokrata Szövetség
Uniunea Democrată Maghiară din România
PresidentHunor Kelemen
Leader in the SenateLóránd Turos [ro]
Leader in the Chamber of DeputiesBotond Csoma
Founded25 December 1989[1]
HeadquartersBucharest (presidency)
Cluj-Napoca (presidency and executive presidency)[2]
Ideology
Political positionCentre-right[11]
National affiliationNational Coalition for Romania (CNR) (2021–2023)
European affiliationEuropean People's Party (EPP)
International affiliationCentrist Democrat International (CDI)
European Parliament groupEuropean People's Party (EPP)
Senate
9 / 136
Chamber of Deputies
20 / 330
European Parliament
2 / 33
Mayors
199 / 3,176
County Presidents
4 / 41
County Councilors
92 / 1,340
Local Council Councilors
2,360 / 39,900
Party flag
Flag of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania
Website
www.dahr.ro

Officially considering itself a federation of minority interests rather than a party,[1] from the 1990 general elections onwards the DAHR has had parliamentary representation in the Romanian Senate and Chamber of Deputies. From 1996 onwards the DAHR has been a junior coalition partner in several governments. It has been described as having close ties with Hungary’s socially-conservative longtime ruling Fidesz party and, implicitly, with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.[13]

The party is a member of the European People's Party (EPP) and Centrist Democrat International (CDI).

History edit

The UDMR was founded on 25 December 1989, immediately after the fall of the Communist dictatorship in the Romanian Revolution of 1989 to represent in public the interests of the Hungarian community of Romania. Its first president was writer Géza Domokos during the early 1990s.

The UDMR obtained consistent results during the 1990, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, and the 2012 elections, gaining representation in both houses of the Parliament, yet until 1996 the UDMR acted in opposition. From 1996 onwards, the party governed in a coalition with the Romanian Democratic Convention (Romanian: Convenția Democrată Română) (CDR)—a wide centre-right alliance that won the elections that year—and obtained some positions in the government of Victor Ciorbea.

Four years later, the opposition party, the Social Democratic Party of Romania (PSD) won the 2000 elections. Although the UDMR did not join the new government as a coalition partner, it did sign a series of annual contracts with the PSD in which the PSD pledged to implement certain legal rights for the Hungarian minority community in return for UDMR's endorsement in parliament.

 
Former presidents of the UDMR Géza Domokos and Béla Markó at one of the first meetings after the founding of the organisation
 
The UDMR celebrates 20 years since its establishment

In the 2004 elections, the UDMR made an alliance to back Adrian Năstase of the Social Democratic Party, who was the favourite to win the presidential elections, but the surprise victory of Traian Băsescu rocked the Romanian political spectrum. After negotiations, the UDMR, together with the Romanian Humanist Party (later to become the Conservative Party), defected from the PSD alliance and pledged to form a coalition with the Justice and Truth Alliance (DA). The UDMR obtained positions in the government.

After the 2008 legislative elections UDMR entered in opposition. In 2009, after the adoption of a motion of no confidence against the Emil Boc's left and right grand coalition government, the UDMR became part of the new Emil Boc Cabinet, and continued after Emil Boc's resignation as junior coalition partner of the Mihai Răzvan Ungureanu Cabinet together with the PDL and UNPR. In 2012 the Romanian Parliament voted a motion of no confidence against the Ungureanu Cabinet. After the formation of the Social Liberal Union (USL) government led by Victor Ponta, the UDMR entered the opposition.

After the 2012 elections the same parties continued to form a government under the leadership of Victor Ponta. In 2014 the liberal part of the party coalition left the government, while the UDMR, PC, and UNPR joined the new government. The UDMR left the government in December 2014, shortly after the landslide victory of Klaus Iohannis as President of Romania. Subsequently, the UDMR provided mostly confidence and supply agreements to other ruling majorities before becoming part of a grand coalition after December, 2020. After the resignation of the Ciucă Cabinet, UDMR withdrew from the coalition, after the National Liberals decided to take the Minister of Development, Public Works and Administration, which was held by UDMR in the Ciucă Cabinet.[14][15]

Party organisation edit

Status edit

UDMR is not a legally registered political party, but takes part in elections under art. 4(2) of the Law 68/1992 which assimilates organizations representing national minorities to political parties from an electoral point of view. UDMR is an "alliance" of the ethnic Hungarian community in Romania, which incorporates several platforms of different ideologies, social, scientific, cultural or professional groups as associated organizations, youth and women organisations. The UDMR represents the Magyar (ethnic Hungarian) community of Romania (1,237,746 citizens, according to the 2011 census). Hungarians represent 18.9% of the total population of Transylvania;[16] in Szeklerland (Harghita, Covasna and part of Mureș counties) they form the majority. The overwhelming majority (99%) of the Hungarian population of Romania lives in Transylvanian counties (Arad, Bistriţa-Năsăud, Bihor, Brașov, Alba, Harghita, Hunedoara, Cluj, Covasna, Caraș-Severin, Maramureș, Mureș, Satu Mare, Sibiu, Sălaj, Timiș). In national elections, the Alliance consistently obtains around 6% of the votes, which roughly corresponds to the percentage of ethnic Hungarian voters (6,5%).

Structure edit

The organization's president is Hunor Kelemen, elected at a party congress in 2011. Béla Markó, a writer, had held the position from 1993. He in turn was preceded by founding president Géza Domokos, in office from 1990 to 1993.

The UDMR is structured into 22 territorial organizations, covering all regions of Transylvania, the capital Bucharest, several counties outside Transylvania, as well as platforms representing different political ideologies (Christian Democratic, Socialist, Liberal, National Liberal). It has several associated partners and groups representing the civil society, or the social, scientific, artistic or professional domains. As decision-making bodies, the UDMR operates the Congress, the Council of Representatives, the Permanent Council and the Presidency. The executive presidency is the executive body of the alliance. The consulting bodies of the alliance are: the Consulting Council of Regional Presidents, the Consulting Council of Platforms and the National Council of Self-governments. The bodies credited with controlling are the Regulation Control Committee, the Ethics and Disciplinary Committee. In addition, the President regularly convenes other consultative bodies such as the Economic Council and the Foreign Council.

 
The UDMR celebrates 25 years since its establishment

Doctrine edit

As an ethnic minority organization representing the Hungarians of Romania, the UDMR, above all, concerns itself with Hungarian minority rights, including cultural and territorial autonomy.

The most important objectives of the UDMR are the preservation and development of the Hungarian community in Transylvania, the achievement of the different types of autonomy: cultural autonomy for the smaller and most vulnerable communities and the territorial autonomy and self-determination for those living in large majority area. The use of the mother tongue in all segments of private and public life, the education in mother tongue, the administration of all establishments in the area of minority education and culture are the most important elements of the daily struggle of the UDMR.

The alliance has undertaken the task of representing the interests of the Hungarian community of Romania in Romanian and European politics as well. Ever since its establishment, the formation advocated for the necessity of a united political life, one single voice, that expresses the goals of the Hungarian minority in Romania. This is based on the principle that, as a minority, the Transylvanian Hungarian community should politically be represented by a single, united organization that would offer a framework for varied ideologies and not by various political parties. The UDMR seeks to establish equal to equal relations with Romanian and European political actors expecting their support in pursuing the goals of the Hungarian community. The UDMR is convinced the Hungarian community in Romania is the only entity entitled to make decisions concerning the Hungarian community in Romania.

The UDMR focuses on cooperation and dialogue with the majority. Participating in the governing coalition is important as the alliance can greatly contribute through governmental means to the improvement of the life of the Hungarian community in Romania. The presence and role in the Romanian government of the UDMR protects the status and future of ethnic minorities in Romania and safeguards their evolution. The presence of the UDMR in the Romanian government is not limited to benefits in the field of Romanian politics: the fact bears an important message for states in the vicinity of Hungary, where ethical issues have lately appeared to be increasingly problematic. Since 1999 the UDMR has been a member of the European People's Party (EPP), and since 1991 it is member of the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN).

Various specific goals, gradually detailed during the years, include:

  • Free use of mother tongue in private and public life, as well as in administration and justice;
  • Development of a native-language school system, with all levels and all types of instruction;
  • Full restitution of the community and Church-owned properties that were confiscated during the Communist regime;
  • Autonomy and self governance for Szeklerland;
  • Cultural autonomy for all national minorities in Romania (national minority law in the Romanian Parliament 2005);
  • Decentralization of administration.

The UDMR leaders have claimed on several occasions that they believe local autonomy (decentralization) to be the most appropriate and efficient form of self-government. However, the UDMR has also stated that it wishes to achieve this goal only through a dialogue and consensus with the Romanian majority, and based on proven Western European models.

The UDMR has been criticized on several occasions for its lack of specific doctrine. The main argument for preserving the current structure is that if it split up into smaller fractions of different ideological orientations, it would be impossible for the Hungarian community to obtain more seats in the Parliament (one single seat is allocated to each minority group by default) due to the electoral threshold of 5%.

Several voices from within the UDMR and the Hungarian community have criticized it for being too moderate and making too many compromises in political treaties with other Romanian parties. The Hungarian Civic Alliance, formed by Hungarians against the UDMR, and the Hungarian People's Party of Transylvania (PPMT) formed by former members of the UDMR aimed to form separate, more radical, political entities. However, during the 2004 and 2008 elections, the UDMR proved to still have the endorsement of the overwhelming majority of Hungarians. Disputes with this fraction group led to the departure of László Tőkés (who endorsed the PPMT) from the position of honorary president. In 2009 Tőkés joined, as frontrunner, the Hungarian Unity list for the European Parliamentary elections in Romania, but as elected Member of the European Parliament, he became an independent politician and resigned from his UDMR membership.

In 2022, the UDMR proposed an amendment to the Romanian Child Protection Law that would ban the discussion of homosexuality and gender identity in public spaces. The bill passed in the Senate of Romania in April 2022 and was approved by the Romanian Human Rights Commission but requires approval by Romania's lower house of Parliament.[17]

Despite the fact that UDMR maintains a moderate autonomist outlook, some politicians and pundits in Romania criticized several leading figures of the party as Hungarian nationalist, separatist, and anti-Romanian.[18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][better source needed]

Achievements edit

 
Current leader of the UDMR, Hunor Kelemen, ran as a presidential candidate for the 2009 Romanian presidential election, the 2014 Romanian presidential election, and the 2019 Romanian presidential election.

1989–1999:

  • Developments in the educational system, including reclaiming for Hungarian-language education in some (though not all) schools that were transformed during the Communist regime;
  • The law that allowed partial restitution of real estate confiscated during the Communist regime;
  • Amendment to the administrative law, allowing for the use of Hungarian names of towns and villages as well as Romanian names (on public signs and indicators) where Hungarians live in numbers larger than 20%.

2000–2004:

  • Adoption of restitution law of community forest, community and church real estates;
  • Construction of new educational establishments, conservation of important historical buildings;
  • Implementation of language rights in administration and justice;
  • The inauguration of the symbolic Liberty (Szabadság) statue in Arad, demolished by the communist regime.

2004–2008:

  • Establishment of the Institute for Minority Studies in Cluj;
  • Establishment of new schools for professional education;
  • Construction of sport establishments across Transylvania;
  • The opening of the General Consulate of Hungary in Miercurea-Ciuc;
  • Availability of a Hungarian language telephone directory.

2010:

  • Decentralization process in the education and in health services;
  • The History and Geography of Romania can be learned in mother tongue;
  • The Hungarian language education benefits from more funding, the establishments are administered by the local authorities.

2011:

  • Important public investment were channeled into Hungarian led local communities, including sewage and water systems;
  • The renewal of the 12 national road across Szeklerland;
  • The UDMR managed to stop the intention of the political majority to create new and bigger administrative units, which would mint the diminution of Hungarian led counties.

2012–2013:

  • The establishment of a Council for Cultural Autonomy, aiming to create a network of all goods and heritage of the Hungarian community in Romania;
  • The UDMR presented the Transylvania 2020 project about the investment opportunities and development of the EU funding based on the 2014-2020 MFF of the EU;
  • The UDMR together with the FUEN and the SVP from South Tyrol initiated the Minority SafePack European Citizens’ Initiative.

Electoral history edit

Parliamentary elections edit

Election Chamber Senate Position Aftermath
Votes % Seats Votes % Seats
1990 991,601 7.23
29 / 395
1,004,353 7.20
12 / 119
 2nd  Opposition to FSN government (1990–1991)
Opposition to FSN-PNL-MER-PDAR government (1991–1992)
1992 811,290 7.46
27 / 341
831,469 7.58
12 / 143
 5th  Opposition to PDSR-PUNR-PRM government (1992–1996)
1996 812,628 6.64
25 / 343
837,760 6.82
11 / 143
 4th  CDR-USD-UDMR government (1996–2000)
2000 736,863 6.80
27 / 345
751,310 6.90
12 / 140
 5th  Endorsing PDSR minority government (2000–2004)
2004 628,125 6.17
22 / 332
637,109 6.10
10 / 137
 4th  DA-PUR-UDMR government (2004–2007)
PNL-UDMR minority government (2007–2008)
2008 425,008 6.20
22 / 334
440,449 6.39
9 / 137
 4th  Opposition to PDL-PSD government (2008–2009)
PDL-UNPR-UDMR government (2009–2012)
Opposition to USL government (2012)
2012 380,656 5.14
18 / 412
388,528 5.24
9 / 176
 4th  Opposition to USL government (2012–2014)
PSD-UNPR-UDMR-PC government (2014)
Opposition to PSD-UNPR-ALDE government (2014–2015)
Endorsing the technocratic Cioloș Cabinet (2015–2017)
2016 435,969 6.19
21 / 329
440,409 6.24
9 / 136
 4th  Endorsing PSD-ALDE government (2017–2019)
Opposition to PSD minority government (2019)
Endorsing PNL minority government (2019–2020)
Opposition to PNL minority government (2020)
2020 339,030 5.74
21 / 330
348,262 5.89
9 / 136
 5th  PNL-USR PLUS-UDMR government (2020–2021)
PNL-UDMR minority government (2021)
CNR (with PSD and PNL) government (2021–2023)
Opposition to CNR government (2023–present)

Local elections edit

Election County Councilors (CJ) Mayors Local Councilors (CL) Popular vote % Position
Votes % Seats Votes % Seats Votes % Seats
2008 429,329 5.13
89 / 1,393
378,413 4.28
184 / 3,179
404,657 4.75
2,195 / 40,297
 4th 
2012 473,783 5.60
88 / 1,338
400,627 4.89
202 / 3,121
435,205 5.41
2,248 / 39,121
 4th 
2016 411,823 4.98
95 / 1,434
315,236 3.69
195 / 3,186
390,321 4.66
2,284 / 40,067
 4th 
2020 379,924 5.28
92 / 1,340
299,334 4.01
199 / 3,176
362,442 4.92
2,360 / 39,900
379,924 5.28  6th 
Election County Presidents (PCJ) Position
Votes % Seats
1992
4 / 41
 3rd 
1996
6 / 41
 3rd 
2000
4 / 41
 3rd 
2004
5 / 41
 4th 
2008 419,028 5.26
4 / 41
 4th 
2012 467,420 5.45
2 / 41
 4th 
2016
5 / 41
 3rd 
2020 366,480 5.04
4 / 41
 3rd 

Presidential elections edit

Election Candidate First round Second round
Votes Percentage Position Votes Percentage Position
1996 György Frunda 761,411
6.0%
 4th  not qualified
2000 György Frunda 696,989
6.2%
 5th  not qualified
2004 Béla Markó 533,446
4.1%
 4th  not qualified
2009 Hunor Kelemen 372,761
3.83%
 5th  not qualified
2014 Hunor Kelemen 329,727
3.47%
 8th  not qualified
2019 Hunor Kelemen 357,014
3.87%
 6th  not qualified

European elections edit

Election Votes Percentage MEPs Position EU Party EP Group
2007 282,929 5.52%
2 / 35
 5th  EPP EPP Group
2009 431,739 8.92%
3 / 33
 4th  EPP EPP Group
2014 350,689 6.29%
2 / 32
 5th  EPP EPP Group
2019 476,777 5.26%
2 / 32
 6th  EPP EPP Group

See also edit

Notes edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b James P. Niessen (2005). "Romania". In Richard C. Frucht (ed.). Eastern Europe: An Introduction to the People, Lands, and Culture. ABC-CLIO. p. 767. ISBN 978-1-57607-800-6.
  2. ^ UDMR statute Archived May 29, 2003, at the Wayback Machine (in Hungarian); UDMR contacts Archived May 14, 2003, at the Wayback Machine (in Romanian)
  3. ^ Nordsieck, Wolfram (2020). "Romania". Parties and Elections in Europe. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  4. ^ "Legătura stranie dintre Viktor Orbán şi UDMR". 27 February 2019.
  5. ^ "UDMR mizează pe transilvanism - Hunor Kelemen a primit o nou mandat de președinte". May 2023.
  6. ^ "Transilvanismul şi Centenarul | Agenția de presă Rador". 8 August 2017.
  7. ^ Liberă, Europa (23 February 2019). "Cum vede UDMR viitorul Transilvaniei". Europa Liberă România.
  8. ^ "Senatul a adoptat tacit un proiect de lege anti-LGBT depus de șapte parlamentari UDMR și similar celui din Ungaria lui Viktor Orban".
  9. ^ "Varujan Vosganian (PNL): Harghita si Covasna nu pot trai autonom pentru ca sunt sarace si depind de Bucuresti".
  10. ^ Terry, Chris (19 May 2014). "Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR)". The Democratic Society. Archived from the original on 23 January 2019.
  11. ^ Păun, Nicolae; Ciceo, Georgiana; Domuţa, Dorin (2009). "Religious Interactions of the Romanian Political Parties. Case Study: The Christian-Democratic Connection". Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies. 8 (24): 104–132.
  12. ^ Zoltan Kantor (2008). "Institutionalizing nationalism". In Andrew M. Blasko; Diana Januauskiene (eds.). Political Transformation and Changing Identities in Central and Eastern Europe. CRVP. p. 74. ISBN 978-1-56518-246-2.
  13. ^ Necșuțu, Mădălin (16 February 2022). "Romanian Hungarians Advocate Laws to Stop 'Gender Ideology Assault'". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  14. ^ "Lista miniștrilor PSD și PNL din Guvernul Ciolacu / UDMR iese de la guvernare".
  15. ^ "Președintele PNL, Nicolae Ciucă, despre ieșirea UDMR de la guvernare: PNL a oferit UDMR Ministerul Energiei. Solicitarea lor a fost Ministerul Dezvoltării".
  16. ^ (in Romanian) "Comunicat de presă privind rezultatele definitive ale Recensământului Populației și Locuințelor – 2011" Archived 2013-07-17 at the Wayback Machine, at the 2011 census site; accessed 10 July 2013
  17. ^ Radu, Alexandra (12 July 2022). "Photos: Thousands march in Romania as law censoring LGBTQ looms". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  18. ^ "Deputat UDMR: 1 decembrie este zi de doliu pentru comunitatea maghiară din România". December 2021.
  19. ^ Andrei, Cristian (May 6, 2020). "Proiectul UDMR a aprins discuțiile în Parlament despre federalizarea României, Trianon și pacea interetnică". Europa Liberă România – via romania.europalibera.org.
  20. ^ "PSD iese la atac în scandalurile cu iz naționalist din jurul UDMR. "Sunt subiecte importante pe agenda lor, împart un electorat cu AUR"". 23 May 2022.
  21. ^ "Ziare.com - Mircea Miclea: Cartea nationalista jucata de UDMR va legitima nationalismul romanesc – DW – 14.03.2012". dw.com.
  22. ^ Shafir, Michael (2019). "The Political Party as National Holding Company: The Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania". The Politics of National minority Participation in Post-Communist Europe. pp. 101–128. doi:10.4324/9781315699257-4. ISBN 9781315699257. S2CID 146781794.
  23. ^ "Președinta Ungariei revine în România: Simbolurile naționale sunt date jos, iar cele străine se ridică în locul lor". 10 April 2023.
  24. ^ "Traian Băsescu, atac dur la Kelemen Hunor și UDMR. "Este un antiromân convins"".
  25. ^ "VIRGIL GURAN: "Parlamentarii UDMR trebuie să îşi revizuiască atitudinea"".
  26. ^ "Incredibil: UDMR încurajează cultul criminalului de război Wass Albert, responsabil de moartea unor români și evrei, și cultul scriitorului fascist, antisemit și antiromân Nyiro Jozsef | Cunoaste lumea". 30 October 2016.
  27. ^ "UDMR a folosit numele lui Albert Wass, CRIMINAL DE RĂZBOI, PENTRU O STRADĂ din Târgul Secuiesc. Attila Korodi i-a luat apărarea celui CONDAMNAT DE JUSTIŢIE: "Este publicat în toată lumea"".
  28. ^ "SURSE Liderii PSD și PNL, tot mai nemulțumiți de comportamentul UDMR și al oficialilor din Ungaria, acuzați că încurajează revizionismul pe teritoriul României / Subiectul ar urma să fie ridicat la ședința coaliției din această seară". 23 May 2022.
  29. ^ "Ionut Stroe 'ataca' declaratiile liderilor UDMR: Nu putem vorbi de revizionism in anul 2021, despre anumite pretentii teritoriale". 5 December 2022.

External links edit