Gheorghe Funar

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Gheorghe Funar
Member of the Senate of Romania
In office
13 December 2004 – 14 December 2008
ConstituencyCluj County
Mayor of Cluj-Napoca
In office
February 1992 – June 2004
Preceded byTeodor Groza
Succeeded byEmil Boc
Leader of the Romanian National Unity Party
In office
17 October 1992 – 22 March 1997
Preceded byConstantin Ivasiuc
Succeeded byValeriu Tabără
Personal details
Born (1949-09-29) 29 September 1949 (age 73)
Sânnicolau Mare, Timiș County, Romanian People's Republic
Political partyGreater Romania Party
Other political
affiliations
Romanian Communist Party (before 1989)
Romanian National Unity Party (1990–1997)
Alma materBabeș-Bolyai University
OccupationEconomist

Gheorghe Funar (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈɡe̯orɡe ˈfunar]; born September 29, 1949 in Sânnicolau Mare, Timiș County, Socialist Republic of Romania) is a nationalist Romanian politician, who rose to fame as a controversial mayor of Cluj-Napoca between 1992 and 2004.

Biography[edit]

He became well known for his very strong nationalist stance favouring ethnic Romanians in Cluj-Napoca, which is a relatively multi-ethnic city with an increasing ethnic Romanian majority (80.8%) and a significant ethnic Hungarian population (17.1%). Other ethnic groups include Romani and Germans (more specifically Transylvanian Saxons). Cluj-Napoca is considered to be the major city of Transylvania, a historical region with a significant Hungarian minority.

Funar was a candidate for the presidency for the Romanian National Unity Party (PUNR) in 1992 and 1996. In 1997, after he was expelled from PUNR, he joined the far-right Greater Romania Party (PRM).

Funar served as mayor of Cluj-Napoca from 1992 to 2004, when he was defeated in the first round of the mayoral election. Emil Boc of the Justice and Truth Alliance (DA) won in the second round run-off against Social Democratic Party (PSD) candidate Ioan Rus. Funar ran again in 2008, coming in fourth with 4.2% of the vote.[1]

Previously, Funar was also the General Secretary of the Greater Romania Party (PRM). Among his proposals in parliament are the distribution of Romanian-language Bibles to all citizens and the raising of a statue of Mihai Eminescu in every commune[citation needed].

He is married to Sabina Funar, a professor at the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine in Cluj-Napoca.[citation needed]

Mayorship of Cluj-Napoca[edit]

While many voters said that they voted for him only due to his economic policies, Funar's views demonstrated that tensions over Transylvania's ethnic identity continued after the end of Communism in Romania in 1989 and more than seventy years after Transylvania became part of Romania. His views were often manifested in public policy. Among his measures seen by many as an affront to the ethnic Hungarian community, Funar asked the municipality to paint many public items—including park benches, pavements and even garbage bins—in the colors of the Romanian flag (blue, yellow and red). At Christmas time, the municipality was allowed to use only red, yellow and blue Christmas lights[citation needed].

In 1993, the city's central plaza, "Piața Libertății" (Liberty Square), was renamed "Piața Unirii" (Unification Square), to call to mind the 1918 Union of Transylvania with Romania. Funar changed the label of the statue of Matthias Corvinus from Matthias Rex Hungarorum (Matthias King of Hungarians) to just Matthias Rex.[citation needed] In September 1996, when Romania signed a friendship treaty with Hungary, Funar organized a funeral ceremony on the streets of Cluj-Napoca.[citation needed] In 1997, he hung a banner in front of the Hungarian Consulate in Cluj saying "This is the seat of the Hungarian spies in Romania".[2] Many of Funar's changes were reversed under the mayorship of his successor, Emil Boc.

Between 1992 and 1993, Funar supported a large-scale Ponzi scheme run by Caritas, a company based in Cluj-Napoca. Funar helped Caritas build its credibility by renting space for it in the town hall, appearing with its owner in public and on television, and defending the company from attacks.[3] Funar also gave Caritas space in the local newspaper to list winners' names (amounting to 44 pages in 1993) and lent the owner space at the local stadium to run his operations.[4]

Recently, Funar extended his xenophobic views to the Jewish minority, making unfounded statements: "The World's Jewish Government wants to move Israel into Romanian borders and is trying to exterminate Romanian people by using food additives" or "There are already more than 2 million Jews in Romania working for its destruction". He also claims that theory of relativity was developed by the Romanian poet Mihai Eminescu and it was stolen by Einstein (described by Funar as a "retarded individual").[5]

Electoral history[edit]

Presidential elections[edit]

Election Affiliation First round Second round
Votes Percentage Position Votes Percentage Position
1992 PUNR 1,294,388
10.8%
 3rd 
1996 PUNR 407,828
3.2%
 6th 
2014 Independent 45,405
0.47%
 9th 

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ (in Romanian) "Rezultatele alegerilor locale din principalele oraşe ale ţării" Archived 2008-12-05 at the Wayback Machine, realitatea.net, 6 June 2008
  2. ^ Iasi, Ziarul de. "Alte stiri". www.xn--ziaruldeiai-s9d.ro. Archived from the original on 2017-02-02. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
  3. ^ Verdery, Katherine (October 1995). "Faith, Hope, and Caritas in the Land of the Pyramids: Romania, 1990 to 1994". Comparative Studies in Society and History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 37 (4): 654. doi:10.1017/S0010417500019903. ISSN 0010-4175.
  4. ^ Perlez, Jane (1993-11-13). "Pyramid Scheme a Trap for Many Romanians". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-23.
  5. ^ "VIDEO Cum să blochezi dezvoltarea unui oraş: "Au venit nişte investitori de la Coca-Cola. Le-am zis că nu negociez cu escrocii"". adevarul.ro. Retrieved 2016-03-10.

References[edit]

External links[edit]