ParliamentaryElections2020/INTERVIEW/Kelemen Hunor: UDMR supports political government, we had technocratic gov't and it was disastrous

The chairman of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR), Kelemen Hunor, stated, in an interview granted to AGERPRES, that he supports categorically a political government, because the technocratic one was "disastrous", mentioning that he would like a center-right executive. "I desire political stability and a center-right government, which will enforce public policies by which investors, entrepreneurs and employees will have predictability firstly and may make projections on the medium and long term. The most important thing is for there to be an economic increase and economic stability," claimed the UDMR leader. He also said that one of the main issues is represented by the fact that citizens do not trust state institutions any more. According to Kelemen Hunor, the state looks at citizens "as criminals not yet caught." At the same time, the UDMR chair urged citizens to exercise their right to vote in the parliamentary elections of December 6. "Go out and vote! Fear is not a good adviser, just as anger is not a good adviser. I understand the anger of people, but there, at the moment of the vote, in those few minutes in the polling station, there is no risk, no danger if we respect the rules. And this could be seen after September 27 - the situation did not fundamentally worsen due to the vote," claimed Kelemen Hunor. AGERPRES: How many senators and deputies do you believe the UDMR will have after the December 6 elections? Kelemen Hunor: If we go by what happened in the past, then a proportional representation is a good result, this means somewhere between 6 and 7 be the percentage in the Romanian Parliament. In our case, that would mean 30 MPs, 30 something. This would be a good result. At this moment we have 30 MPs - 21 in the Chamber of Deputies, 9 in the Senate. And that means proportional representation. That is the tradition, that is our experience - that a proportional representation is possible, is desirable and I am convinced it will happen. If we manage to have a very good mobilization, then surely this figure could go up by one or two mandates. This is not going to be an explosion of mandates. But, in our case, that is the figure of percentile, proportional representation. AGERPRES: What are the projects by which you want to convince the Hungarian electorate? Kelemen Hunor: There are two large packages and both packages can be described around the term of safety. People need, in our case the Hungarian community, the certainty that institutions and all that implies keeping ethnic, cultural, linguistic identity will not be affected. Because that's the desire: to maintain our ethnic, linguistic, and cultural identity. And that's what we've been fighting for for 30 years. This still remains an important desire. On the other hand, we are speaking of the safety of tomorrow, job security, income security, this implies a sustainable economy, and economy that will have an increase each budget year, but this means also security in what regards the health of each citizen. People are interested of these things wherever we go, whatever question we're asked, the questions broach on these matters and it's understandable. A few days ago, I had a discussion with an acquaintance of mine who has a small business, has around 40 employees, and he told me: "If I get sick, 99.6 pct I'll be fine, because in the age category I am, that's approximately the rate of people being cured. But, if I'm not helped, if there is no thought from the economic, fiscal, budgetary point of view to support small and medium-sized enterprises, I'll shut the business, 40 families lose their income. And I can't open in a year or two if I had layoffs and I don't have room on the market anymore." So, from this point of view, if we're speaking of entrepreneurs or if we're speaking of employees, everyone expects a predictable fiscal and economic policy. And we need to find those public policies by which to support economically, firstly, small and medium-sized enterprises. That is why we proposed through our program more measures by which small and medium-sized enterprises be supported, through the jobs that may be kept. Of course, afterwards, major investments in large infrastructure, in agriculture, in the manufacturing industry, in the food industry, because there are enormous possibilities there and we may reduce Romania's vulnerabilities, to not be exposed to import permanently for the products that reach the stores. That is why, we are convinced that economically we need to move very fast. We will have the possibility, both from the national budget and from the European Union budget, to support these necessities and, of course, if there is economic growth, then through this crisis that was generated or was accelerated by the pandemic we may go easier. And this implies a political stability, it implies medium-term thought and some courage from the political actors. Those would be the expectations of the people. That is what I saw and supported in this campaign. AGERPRES: Where do you see yourself after the elections? In power or in the opposition? Kelemen Hunor: In politics, everyone wants to implement their political program in whole or in part and, beyond the Legislature, to be able, through the levers of executive power, to implement this program. That is why we must not be ashamed, we must not pretend that we do not understand, to exercise power is an essential part of politics. Of course, not under any conditions, you do not have this possibility permanently, there is an alternation of power. We were last in government very little in 2014, in the government led by Victor Ponta, and since then we have not been in government. If there is any possibility to contribute to political stability and to all that can be done through medium-term political stability, then we will take on this responsibility. But at this moment it is difficult for me to say what will happen after the elections, because we cannot influence how people will vote, what parties will be there, in what percentage they will enter Parliament. But we have not denied, we will never deny that the means of executive power are important for us and for any other political party - this is a logical and natural thing in politics. I want political stability and a center-right government that will implement public policies whereby investors, entrepreneurs and employees will have predictability in the first place and can make medium-term projections in the long run. The most important thing is to have economic growth and economic stability. AGERPRES: What are the conditions you will not give up if you are asked for support for the formation of a majority? Kelemen Hunor: We cannot convey the conditions before the elections and not through the press anyway. We have a very, very clear political program and whether a governing program and a governing team and a majority will be able to meet these expectations related to jobs, economic growth, the citizen's everyday life security and, in addition , will implement legislation related to the protection of ethnic minorities, then surely a consensus can be reached. It does not seem natural to us to state and launch on the market other conditions at this time, and anyway, not before the election AGERPRES: Did you have discussions during this period with those from PNL [the National Liberal Party]? What about USR PLUS [Save Romania Union - Freedom, Unity and Solidarity Party]? Kelemen Hunor: I've had discussions with almost everyone, I don't deny that. There's nothing wrong with that. I also talked to Ludovic Orban this year, several times, I also talked several times during the campaign. We have collaborations in Transylvania, with many local authorities. I discussed, at one point, about USR's bill "No convicts in public office", with Dan Barna. I also talked to the PSD leaders in the past, I haven't talked these days - I haven't talked for two or three weeks. So there are such ongoing discussions, but we have not discussed the formation of a majority after the elections because for the first time we have to overcome the election obstacle. AGERPRES: The USR PLUS alliance announced that it supports Dacian Ciolos as prime minister, PNL supports Ludovic Orban. Will UDMR go to the consultations at Cotroceni [Presidential Palace] with a prime minister's name or will it support one of the two? Which one? Kelemen Hunor: If we are invited, then we will respond to the invitation and say there what we think, when we find out the name. So it presently seems to me that whether "they come" with Ciolos or Orban , it is more about the two political parties' electoral campaign strategy. One thing is clear: the one who will have more seats will have the chance and the responsibility to give the prime minister and to form the Government. From here we can move on. Now, of course, we will not discuss names today, because we are not in competition with the ones or the others. AGERPRES: Technocratic government or political government, which do you think would be more beneficial for Romania, in this crisis situation? Kelemen Hunor: Political government, absolutely! By no means technocratic! We had a technocratic government, it was disastrous. A technocratic government has no political responsibility and in such a period, in such a situation in which we find ourselves, we would not support and I would not recommend to anyone to support a government of technocrats. That is why we are holding parliamentary elections - to have a political responsibility, a political assumption and, of course, a political accountability. AGERPRES: If you were invited to be part of the future government, which ministries would UDMR want to coordinate? Kelemen Hunor: We haven't discussed this. It's premature to discuss. I have also seen guesswork based on data from the past, they have no real basis, I have not even talked to my colleagues. AGERPRES: How much does the visit to Mures County of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Hungary, Peter Szijjarto, help you from an electoral point of view? Kelemen Hunor: Initially he should have come about 3-4 weeks ago, but for objective reasons, he could not and came on December 2. We have a good collaboration with the Government of Hungary and we have had the political and moral support every time there have been elections, without getting involved in the internal politics of our country. As Peter Szijjarto said: he does not want and is not involved in domestic politics, but he also believes that it is good to have a strong representation in the Romanian Parliament of the Hungarian community. And this political and moral support is important and, of course, it is not the first time, it is not the last time that such support exists, just as Romania supports Romanian minorities abroad, including in elections in different countries around Romania. It is absolutely natural in the 21st century. AGERPRES: How do you assess now, at the end of this legislature, the situation of UDMR bills? What bills will you come up with in the next Legislature? Kelemen Hunor: We have had many bills that have been approved. In the end, it doesn't even matter how many you initiate, because there are many who initiate bills over bills and no draft laws clears the two Chambers and does not reach the Official Journal. Or we, thank God, have many approved bills: both in the health field and in the field of education, including the financing of nurseries from the state budget, which was a huge need, and many other bills in the social area, in the area of infrastructure and economy. A statistic of bills exists on our website. Next we will go with bills that address these issues, including the development of large infrastructure in Transylvania. We will have bills related to the support of SMEs - which I consider extremely important - plus in agriculture, in the food industry. In these areas we will have many initiatives and many draft laws in the new Parliament. AGERPRES: We have reached the end of the current Parliament's term. At one point you signalled the lack of dialogue between the Legislature and the Government. Do you maintain this view? In this context, what do you expect from the future government? Kelemen Hunor: The political culture must be sustained and further developed in Romania, because we have only 30 years of experience in a somewhat functional democracy. And it's obvious that 30 years don't mean much. For a human life, yes, but in terms of social mentality 30 years are not enough. Therefore, I further believe that all responsible political forces, including those outside Parliament, those who do not participate in the legislative act, the civil society, opinion formers, must uphold the value of dialogue, the importance of dialogue among the powers of the state. And I'm talking about all the powers, not just the executive and the legislature, because that's how you can build trust. After all, the biggest issue in our country is the lack of trust. People do not go for testing - just to give an example - because they don't trust the health system, they don't want to end up in hospital. They would rather stay at home and hope that they will not have serious symptoms. People do not trust state institutions. The state looks at the citizens as if they were still uncaught criminals. The state does not trust its own citizens. And that is why I believe that only through dialogue, through transparency and sincerity, through arguments, can trust be rebuilt or regained. And if there is confidence, of course, success will come. What is specific for all the societies that have been successful for a longer period is a very high degree of trust between the members of the society, between the society and the state, between the state institutions. So this value must be regained. And that's why I'm talking about political culture, I'm talking about a permanent approach without which it is difficult to build something stable and long-term. If, for instance, each government redesigns the route of a motorway, you simply don't have time to build the motorway. If you don't trust that the other has done something good, at the best of intentions, with the best team of experts, there's no way for moving forward. So this is what we need to understand, from my point of view. AGERPRES: In the end, what is your message for the Romanians who want to vote on Sunday, as well as for those who declare themselves disappointed or who are afraid of getting infected with the novel coronavirus and are reluctant to go to the polls? Kelemen Hunor: Go to the polls! Fear is not a good counselor, and neither is anger. I understand the anger of the people, but there, at the time of voting, in those few minutes spent at the polling station, there is no risk, no danger if we follow the rules. And this could also be seen after the September 27 ballot - the situation didn't get fundamentally worse because of the vote. We see that this autumn or early-winter wave has befallen the entire Europe. So there is no danger at the time of ballot casting. We can and must overcome fear. The anger is understandable, because the government has made a few thoughtless decisions - closing schools, closing markets and I see the people are upset. I am upset too when I see that my daughter, and not only her, but a whole generation, are trying to learn, to be present online because of the missing infrastructure. The people's anger is understandable, but anger shouldn't drive one to the conclusion that you are better off if you stay at home, because you don't punish anyone by staying holed up at home. Go to the polls, angry as we all are. Let us vote in anger and overcome fear, let us not relinquish our freedom, because the decision of December 6 is about the future, not about the past! AGERPRES (RO - author: Catalina Matei, editor: Mirela Barbulescu; EN - authors: Razvan-Adrian Pandea, Simona Iacob, Simona Klodnischi, editor: Maria Voican)

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