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Szekler National Council Presses Charges Against Romanian President Over ‘Hate Speech’

Hungary Today 2020.05.06.

Last week, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis accused the Romanian Social Democratic Party (PSD), the biggest faction in the lower House, of ‘secretly trying to give Transylvania back to Hungarians’ after the lower House failed to schedule a vote on the Szekler Territorial Autonomy bill. His remarks caused domestic outrage and stirred up some diplomatic tension between Romania and Hungary. Now, the Szekler National Council announced that they are pressing charges against the Romanian head of state for incitement.

According to Romanian law, bills that are not voted on within 45 days after their presentation are automatically considered as approved. Although it was unthinkable for the bill to become a law from the get-go, President Klaus Iohannis still accused the Social Democratic Party (PSD) of “wanting to relinquish Transylvania to Hungary.” The bill has since been rejected by the Romanian Senate.

Romania President Iohannis Harshly Attacks Szeklerland Autonomy Plans Causing Diplomatic Tension

Since then, Iohannis’ remarks have caused diplomatic tension between Hungary and Romania. Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó called on the Romanian president to “show more respect to Hungarians.” Szijjártó said Iohannis’s comments were “particularly uncivilized and could incite hatred.” The Foreign Minister added that “Iohannis should be aware that the vast majority of Hungarians living in Transylvania and Szeklerland voted for him in the Romanian presidential election.”

Hungarian Press Roundup: Romanian President’s Remarks Deemed Anti-Hungarian

Yesterday, the Transylvanian Hungarian National Council (EMNT) and the Szekler National Council (SZNT) appealed to the Romanian Supreme Court over the Romanian president’s statements and pressed charges against Klaus Iohannis, according to the press office of EMNT president László Tőkés.

According to the petition handed in by the organizations, the Romanian president in his April 29th televised speech, incited hatred and discrimination, which is punishable by imprisonment of 6 months to 3 years.

The report refers to Article 369 of the Romanian Penal Code, which prohibits inciting citizens in any way to hate or discriminate against any group of people. The plaintiffs believe that in the present case, the incitement was directed against Hungarians in Romania, members of the largest opposition party and citizens of Hungary.

Due to the statement, the Mikó Imre Rights Protection Service and the PSD also reported the president to the Romanian National Anti-Discrimination Council, and the co-chairs of the Hungarian Association of Transylvania wrote to Donald Tusk, President of the European People’s Party, to speak out against Klaus Iohannis.

featured photo: MTI/EPA/Robert Ghement