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September 19, 2019
POLITICS

Romanian-Hungarian ‘War of the flags’ – Episode 2

Harghita and Covasna prefects urge local authorities to remove Szekely flags from public institutions in the two counties.

Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjen, in charge of Hungarian communities living outside Hungary, on Tuesday asked local councils to display the Szekely flag, Mediafax quotes MTI as reporting. During a citizenship-granting swearing-in ceremony held at Budapest yesterday, Zsolt Semjen said the hoisting of the flag would express solidarity with the Szekely Land and support for the unity of the Hungarian nation. Semjen said approximately 400,000 people had applied to receive Hungarian citizenship in a simplified procedure and that authorities expected their number to reach 500,000 by the end of the term of the Hungarian Government next year.

Formal notice
Covasna Prefect Dumitru Marinescu yesterday gave formal notice to the leaders of the People’s Party of Hungarians in Transylvania (PPMT) Baraolt to remove the Hungarian flag from the headquarters of the local organisation. ‘The prefect urges the local organisation of PPMT to remove the Hungarian flag. It looks like all prefects, representatives of the Government, have been assigned the task to attack our symbols’, Covasna PPMT organisation leader Nemes Elod told a press conference yesterday. According to him, the PPMT Baraolt officials are not going to bring down the Hungarian flag from the building and, if needed, will seek justice in court. Nemes added that PPMT was calling on all citizens to display the Szekely flag on their homes. ‘We are advising the citizens to display the Szekely flag on private properties and at balconies. Let’s see if the Police goes door to door if hundreds of flags are displayed’ he said.
In the context we note that the Covasna Prefecture has announced checks this week to see if the law is observed with respect to the display of flags at the headquarters of public institutions.
The Prefect of Harghita County, Jean-Adrian Andrei, says the Szekely flag is illegal and demands authorities in a letter to remove it from all public institutions. Andrei told Mediafax he had received a decision from the Targu Murs Court of Appeal quashing a resolution adopted by the Harghita County Council adopting the Szekely flag as the official flag of the county, and asked the president of the County Council and county mayors to conform themselves to the ‘generally binding’ rules and implement the court decision. According to the prefect, the Szekely flag is now displayed on the buildings of a total of 40 municipalities of the 67 existing in the county, as well as on 62 schools. Sanmartin Mayor Gergely Andras said he would not remove the Szekely from the building of the local public administration, ‘because that’s where it belongs and it is not illegal as long as Szekely symbols – the sun and the moon – are also shown on the coat of arms of Romania, meaning he Szekely are recognised as an ethnic minority entitled to their own symbols.
‘I don’t know whose nerves are being set on edge, who is annoyed by the Szekely flag, but it is our symbol, the symbol of the Szekely community of Harghita, Covasna and Mures’, the principal of the ‘Petofi Sandor’ School in Miercurea Ciuc, prof. Kiss Erno, said in his turn, According to Mediafax.

Hasotti slams Tokes

The leader of PNL senators, Puiu Hasotti, on Tuesday, in Parliament, made a tough attack on Laszlo Tokes, whom he called ‘a sulphurous symbol of the 1989 Revolution’, adding that he had immixed himself in ‘the goulash of circumstance’ of ‘the war of the flags’. According to Hasotti, in his recent positions, the MEP has been making indirect threats with a new ‘black March’, an allusion to the tragedy happening in Targu Mures, in the spring of 1990. ‘Personally, I have the vague suspicion that this member of the European Parliament would very much like to see Romania lunge back into those days of horror’, Puiu Hasotti pointed out. Furthermore, he said that ‘this sulphurous symbol of the 1989 Revolution is, again, the unleashed propagandist of the dreamt territorial autonomy on criteria of ethnicity for the Hungarians inhabiting the so-called Szekely Land’. On the other hand, Hasotti accused PDL and President Traian Basescu of having supported Tokes’ ascension.
MEP Laszlo Tokes said last Thursday that the Ponta Government ‘was replicating the racist and anti-Hungarian campaign’ ‘the Iliescu regime had implemented’ back in 1990 and that the premier was singing ‘a hymn to hared, to the score written by people such as Iliescu and Dan Voiculescu’, and urged Ponta ‘to end the xenophobic campaign’.

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