Unfortunately for the UDMR, a formation much more efficient in the act of governing than its partners, through most of its ministers and secretaries of state, with the possible exception of Edward Novak, who made several mistakes that displeased both athletes and the public, they risk losing their places in the “rotating”. The internal pressures in the two main parties to occupy the portfolios held by the UDMR are high. There are only two years of government left and there are a lot of territorial leaders who claim positions for their people. And where to get them? Excluded from being able to establish new syneces, with a hole in the budget bag. Then, you take from those who, even if they are dissatisfied, their dissatisfaction also brings you votes – from UDMR.
Great hunger among partners, nothing to give in exchange for a seat at the table
So that the formula will be reached, I think, in which the Hungarian minority party will remain a “behind the scenes ally” of the Ciolacu government, but without portfolios, or perhaps with one, symbolically, of deputy prime minister for Kelemen Hunor and at most a position in the government , at the Ministry of Culture, where he can place his favorite person, who previously occupied this portfolio. But for the rest, PDS and PNL have an insatiable hunger for positions and have no money for new ones. If they want to have troops ready for the 2024 campaign, they must provide them with “meals” for the fight, and they can only break it from the mouths of the Hungarians, that the government’s piggy bank is empty. UDMR can manage without it – it has done it before, with the same results.
This is where the superiority and malleability of Hungarian politicians resides, compared to Romanian ones. It was also seen in Hunor’s speech, far beyond what Ciucă and Ciolacu could give together, put in similar situations. “I will do my best to continue the government. And not just to continue, but to work more, better and smarter. Today, this is the interest of the Hungarians in Romania, it is the interest of our coalition partners and it is the interest of the country”, stated Hunor at the UDMR Congress. The substratum is that he understands that at the table of “sharing” the portfolios, his formation could be excluded and praises his goods. He knows what he has: without being extraordinary or irreproachable, the performance of his ministers was much better than that of some Romanian ministers, in the past, in the same positions.
Hunor Kelemen deflects attention from any slippage. In his words, Transylvania or the issue of autonomy no longer existed – not only as themes, but also as terms. Instead, “we have always said that we want to thrive on our native land as a Hungarian community, preserving and recreating our identity with its elements in every generation – but that is not enough. Today, the choice to live on the native land cannot be strictly a moral requirement. We must make this country a place worth living in. In addition to the institutional framework for preserving identity and safety from a legal point of view, we must improve the conditions regarding the quality of life, the quality of public services, we must shape the country in such a way that Hungarians stay here and yes, dear friends, this depends more above and before all of us. No one else will do this job for us. Everyone is needed in this effort”, said Hunor. It’s a kind of declaration of love for Romania, the likes of which I’ve never heard before in such circumstances.
Defeated by demographics
The document I quoted from is called “Speech-program” and Hunor Kelemen presented it to the delegates at the 16th Congress of the UDMR in Timisoara, who re-elected him president. “We share this land with Romanians, Saxons, Swabians, Jews, Roma and all the other nationalities that live here and, although in the past many have separated us, we do not want to impose the past in place of the future. We give respect and demand respect”. Or, better said, “let us continue to govern, alongside you”.
The UDMR is aware and perhaps among its members, the leader is the best informed about the party’s hard fate, given that in recent years there has been a real hemorrhage of its electoral pool, towards Hungary; European parliamentary elections await him, which will decide “if we can keep our representation in Brussels. If we will have a say in the future of the European Union because we see that the recent past and the present are not going in the best direction”. And it is a major risk that the UDMR will not cross the threshold of these elections, nor that of the parliamentarians, remaining with local leaders, without any influence in Bucharest, where money and power are centralized.
“Census data show us that, in the last decade, many – by our standards even very many – chose to emigrate”, says Hunor, then speaking of this general trend in this area of Europe. But the fundamental problem of the Hungarian community is now to manage to collect enough votes at the national level, for their formation to cross the electoral threshold. Because among those who chose to emigrate are the Hungarians who left Transylvania for Hungary. Hundreds, thousands of votes on which they relied until now are disappearing every day. The reality, which Hunor Kelemen is trying to cover now with rhetorical curtains, but which he will have to face in the elections, is that, since 2011, since the last census, the Hungarian population has decreased by over 225,000 people, reaching around one million . Those who left were members of the active population, that is, only young and mature people – basically, about a third of those who voted for them constantly in the elections left. In order to succeed in reaching the electoral threshold, they will need an exemplary mobilization – there are four polls, and a tired, disillusioned, aging population, with their children gone to Hungary: how to get them to vote? This is now, in my opinion, the fundamental problem of the UDMR, and not clinging to a “rest” of governance, at any cost, if that price includes the loss of honor.
If they will no longer accede to the government, it is a secondary act and derived from the first. If it is very possible that the UDMR will no longer matter in the future, the greed of liberals and pesedists, who want to divide among themselves the portfolios that Hungarian ministers had, has an open field.
So that UDMR is going through the most serious crisis since 1990 on the eve of the 2024 elections. They can also lose the government in which they still participate, they can also lose the future entry into the European and national parliaments, in 2024. When Hunor Kelemen says that “We want to continue, but not under any conditions. But no one, no partner of ours, should be deceived by the fact that we have only 6-7% in the Parliament. We represent an entire national community of over one million people. This is not math, it is much more than that. This is our passion. I myself will do everything possible to continue the government”, it’s a rhetorical exercise. A smokescreen covering a tragic reality. Yes, the UDMR governed in general, with better performances than their fellow Romanian ministers, they were more efficient. This is not what will defeat them this time, but their own demographics and, dare I say it, the greed of those who were their partners until yesterday.
It is not their own inefficiency or greed that can lose them now, within days, but that of their former liberal and social democratic colleagues, who will remove them from the increasingly poor table of pieces of government, although the curtains of deceptive words know to throw both Ciucă and Ciolacu. The UDMR would be satisfied, perhaps, with a little, with the formula they have practiced before, of the parliamentary support granted without actually having portfolios. Although, they don’t seem to have enough, in the perspective of the difficult year that is approaching.
But, we still need them, the two “big ones” will ask themselves, when we ourselves need a nationalist discourse, with which to counteract those from AUR, who are climbing, climbing, climbing and never stop stop climbing the polls? Between stopping this ascent and sacrificing the UDMR, it is certain that neither Ciucă nor Ciolacu will have any scruples. The only chance for the Hungarian formation, in this heavy political crisis it is going through now, is to mobilize its electorate, as it has never done before, Otherwise, their history of a quarter of a century as a political force participating at the top in politics Romanian will stop next year.
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