The Social Democratic Party (PSD) is proposing to change the rules of procedure in the Romanian Parliament, in order to prevent such laws from being submitted, which – according to the said party – affect Romania as a nation-state. Through such a measure they would practically outlaw the regional development policies suggested by Hungarian representatives.

If such an amendment of the house rules were to pass, it would also mean that in the future the autonomy statute of the Szeklerland region could not be submitted to Parliament, despite the fact that this would not in any way violate the country’s independence, its character as a unitary nation-state, nor its territorial integrity. Árpád Antal, the president of the Szekler Council of Local Representatives pointed out that all members of Parliament must have the right to freedom of speech, irrespective of what they wish to submit for debate. It would be a gross violation of democracy and also unconstitutional, if Parliament could decide which proposals can be submitted.

Marcel Ciolacu, the president of PSD proposed this amendment after the Chamber of Deputies voted against a law on the use of the mother tongue by national minorities, without so much as a debate. The said law drafted by the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ) contained several provisions for the use of the mother tongue in the public sphere, which have been left out from the current version of the Administrative Code, adopted through an emergency government ordinance last summer, basically bypassing Parliament. Through this proposed law, RMDSZ wanted – among other things – to prevent the existing rights of the Hungarian community to be taken away in those administrative units, where the percentage of Hungarians is expected to drop below the 20% threshold following next year’s census, and for local councils to be allowed to put up the name of a municipality in a minority language as well, even in cases when this is not obligatory under the law.

Following anti-Hungarian statements made last week by President Klaus Iohannis, attacks against the Hungarian community and its legitimate demands have been constant. In order to stop any debate on these demands, the largest opposition party is ready to sacrifice democratic rules of procedure within Parliament. This is unacceptable in a democratic state, and in Parliament it should be allowed to debate both the issue of the use of minority languages, as well as the autonomy of a region.

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