Romania’s largest ethnic Hungarian party, the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ), has won close to two hundred mayoral positions at local government elections held in Hungary’s eastern neighbour yesterday.
In what will be seen as a major step forward in ethnic Hungarian political representation, the city of Szatmárnémeti (Romanian: Satu Mare), near the Hungarian border with a population of 110 000, has been reclaimed by RMDSZ after four years of a Romanian mayor. Ethnic Hungarian candidate Gábor Kereskényi won 42 per cent of the vote in the city which has a 34% Hungarian minority, a substantial lead over incumbent mayor Dorel Coica’s 28.47% result.
Ethnic Hungarians in Romania as a proportion of the total population (2002)
Speaking on Hungarian state radio, Hunor Kelemen, the party’s chairman, said early today that RMDSZ candidates have won with certainty in 197 localities, while candidates supported by the party claimed victory in a further seven. The Hungarian Civic Party, a rival group, won the mayoral race in 15 settlements, while providing an additional two municipal leaders in the towns of Székelyudvarhely (Odorheiu Secuiesc) and Szentegyháza (Vlăhiţa) together with another smaller party, the Hungarian People’s Party of Transylvania (EMNP).
Historic win: Gábor Kereskényi won back the city of Szatmárnémeti near the Hungarian border after four years of Romanian leadership
The majority of mayors leading towns with substantial ethnic Hungarians were reelected, figures revealed by the parties suggest. Incumbent mayors Árpád Antal of Sepsiszentgyörgy (Sfântu Gheorghe), Tibor Bokor of Kézdivásárhely (Târgu Secuiesc) and Barna Lázár Kiss of Barót (Baraolt), were all reelected. MPP candidate Zoltán Nagy won in the town of Gyergyószentmiklós (Gheorgheni), while Róbert Ráduly, the former mayor of the town of Csíkszereda (Miercurea Ciuc), will serve as leader of the municipality again after resigning last year. Ethnic Hungarian candidates also won in a number of other major settlements across Szekler Land, including Székelykeresztúr (Cristuru Secuiesc), Szováta (Sovata) and Kovászna (Covasna).
Satisfied: RMDSZ leader Hunor Kelemen (R) appeared satisfied as results began coming in during the late hours of Sunday and into Monday (photo: atv.hu)
Ethnic Hungarian municipal leaders also held onto their positions in the Partium region, which separates the historic Transylvania from modern-day Hungary. Results suggest that the towns of Margitta (Marghita), Székelyhíd (Săcuieni), Érmihályfalva (Valea lui Mihai), Nagyszalonta (Salonta) and Nagykároly (Carei) will all be led by Hungarian candidates in the next cycle.
In Marosvásárhely (Târgu Mureş), however, Zoltán Soós, the joint ethnic Hungarian candidate supported by all minority groups, failed by a small margin to beat incumbent mayor Dorin Florea and reclaim the city from Romanian leadership after 16 years. In Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca), the “capital” of Transylvania and Romania’s second city, incumbent deputy mayor Anna Horváth won 13 per cent of the vote after running a strong campaign.
cover photo: hvg.hu