Romanian Hungarians Continue Demands for More Rights

"We want to continue to represent the interests of our community, meaning increased rights in education, justice and local administration," said Kelemen Hunor, who was reelected as president of the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians, UDMR at the weekend.

"We will continue to inform the Romanian population that our demands for greater cultural rights to minorities is not against anyone's interest," Hunor said.

Hunor receieved 575 votes from the 585 delegates at the party's congress meeting at the party's congress meeting in the western city of Cluj.

In recent years, UDMR has been demanding that Romania's government adopt an ethnic minorities law which would grant greater cultural rights to minorities.

Although several laws addressing ethnic minority rights exist in Romania, the UDMR has long time campaigned for a basic law on minorities. A draft law has been around for almost five years, waiting for parliament to debate it.

Under the existing laws, ethnic minorities can study in their native languages at all levels of education, from kindergarten to university. But the new law would clarify and enlarge these rights.

It would also stipulates that minorities should receive official funds to set up educational institutions in their native languages.

The most controversial provision of the draft law is related to 'cultural autonomy', which Hungarians say will give them more power to preserve their national identity.

Hunor added that at least for the moment, the UDMR has no reason to join any governing coalition, adding that it would do so only "if agreements are respected".

The UDMR has been a junior partner in different ruling coalitions several times over the last 25 years.

The Hungarian community...

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