Jun 30, 2009

Hungarian Minority in Romania: Ethnic Purge in Local Government

Active Image“Ethnic purge” in the leadership of de-concentrated services of the government in counties where a substantial part of the population is ethnic Hungarian.
Below is a press release issued by the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania:

On 22 April 2009, the PSD-PDL government adopted government decree nr. 37, which would “improve the quality of the local service”. However, this has started a purge in the county leadership of all state de-concentrated services and a waste number of government representations in each county. The mass relieve of local leaders of these services has taken the form of an “ethnical purge” in most of the counties where a significant number of ethnic Hungarians live.

The process of reform that was started by Romania in 1999, that was supposed to bring modernization of the administration and de-politicization of the corps of civil servants and public administration, is cancelled. The leaders of de-concentrated services such as county school boards, county cultural institutions, hospital directors or agencies for agricultural development, are now named after political allegiance.

Relieving native Hungarian leaders from these institutions is perceived as an “ethnic purge” by the local Hungarian population. Even when the former government was in power, when the DAHR was a member of the governing coalition, the percentage of ethnic Hungarians in the leadership of these institutions and agencies was low. Sometimes, the percentage was far below the percentage of ethnic Hungarians in the total population of these counties. With the forced changes, the percentage of ethnic Hungarian directors or vice-directors in de-concentrated institution has sank even further in most counties. The following table depicts the situation in counties with a high percentage of ethnic Hungarians:

County name    % of Ethnic Hungarians      
% Hungarian deconc. serv.      % Hungarian deconc. serv.
                      in population                     leaders in 2008                     leaders in 2009
Hargita            84,62%                            58,00%                               18% (not final)
Covasna          73,80%                            44,50%                               10%
Maros             39,30%                            20,70%                               16%
Satu Mare       35,19%                            12,20%                                0%
Bihor              26,00%                            12,00%                                2%
Sălaj              23,05%                            27,20%                                2%
Cluj               17,40%                              4,34%                                1%
Arad              10,67%                            14,05%                                3%

The Hungarians ask for equal rights, including the proportional representation in the local administration. The relieve of the ethnic Hungarian institution leaders on political basis in counties with a Hungarian majority or a significant Hungarian population, is an ethnic purge.

The DAHR will continue the protest against the relieving of the Hungarian leaders of the de-concentrated institutions. The discriminative policy of the government is affecting the inter-ethnical stability, the functioning of some of these institutions, and of course the interests of the Hungarians of Transylvania.