Foreign Affairs
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Romania’s Ruling Party Threatens Autonomy-Seeking Transylvanian-Hungarians With Prison Punishment

Attempts that threaten the constitutional order of Romania should be punished with prison, according to a law proposal by the Tudor Ciuhodaru, a lawmaker of the ruling Social-democrat Party, Hungarian news agency MTI reported.

The proposal openly refers to the movements that demand autonomy for Székelyföld (Székely Land), a historic region of Transylvania with massive Hungarian-speaking majority. Ciuhodaru told Digi24 news channel that the proposal aims to punish those “extremist, revisionist and separatist” efforts, which question the very essence of the “unified and indivisible” Romanian state.

The proposal, which was submitted by Ciuhodaru to the Senate of Romania earlier this week, would enable Romanian courts to sentence those to one-three year in prison who either individually or in a group attempted to overthrow the constitutional order of Romania. (Previously only those were sentenced to prison who committed explicitly violent acts against the state.)

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Despite being promised comprehensive minority and language rights in 1920, Hungarians in Transylvania struggle for self-governance still today. Székely Land is a historical and ethnographic region in southeastern Transylvania, located roughly in the centre of today’s Romania. 70-80% per cent of its population (up to 97% in some towns) belong to the Székely subgroup of ethnic Hungarians, who are estimated to number between 750 000 and 800 000.

Since 2003, the Székely National Council has aimed to obtain the autonomy of Székely Land, uniting Hungarian-inhabited areas of three different counties: Maros, Hargita and Kovászna. In this, the primary official language would be Hungarian and the secondary Romanian.

via MTI