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MSZP outing in Romania sparks controversy

January 24th, 2013

A Hungarian journalist in Romania criticises the panic of some minority Hungarians after the Hungarian Socialist Party held a meeting in Cluj, and warns them that in a democracy, parties do not hold on to power forever.

The MSZP National Board met in Cluj, the largest city in Transylvania last week, prompting accusations of hypocrisy from the Hungarian right. The MSZP stands accused of past indifference or outright hostility to Hungarian minorities beyond the border. The main charge levelled against the party is that during the 2004 referendum on easing access to citizenship for transborder Hungarians, its leadership urged voters to abstain or reject the proposal. The referendum failed due to low turnout. The current Socialist leader Attila Mesterházy apologised, and described the party’s approach at that time as seriously mistaken. (See BudaPost, January 18 and 22.)

In Új Magyar Szó (Cluj), Ferenc Székedi remarks that anger towards political opponents has become fashionable among Romanian Hungarians, and disapproves of the whipping up of emotions around the arrival of the Socialists in Transylvania. Why is it that some minority Hungarians are enthusiastic when a certain party tours their region but panic when another visits, the author wonders. In a democracy, he suggests, extremist forces should be marginalised, while mainstream political parties should alternate in power to promote the welfare of all through their competition. What really threatens Hungarian democracy and its hopes of becoming a welfare state, he concludes, is the general hysteria over the simple fact that one party may lose to another at the general elections.

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