Székely autonomy initiatives
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The Székely Land (Szeklerland) is a region of central Romania. The primary goal for the Hungarian political organisations in Romania is to achieve Szekler autonomy. The Szeklers make up about half of the Hungarians in Romania and live in an ethnic block. According to official data from the Romania's 2011 census, 609,033 persons in Mureş, Harghita and Covasna counties consider themselves Hungarian (56.8% of total population of the three counties). The Székelys (Szeklers), a Hungarian sub-group, are mainly concentrated in these three counties.
The most important political organisation of ethnic Hungarians in Romania is the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania, which undertakes to represent all Hungarians in Romania (i.e. not only those living in the Székely Land). The demand for Hungarian autonomy has been part of their program since 1993.
A Szeklerland based organization, the Szekler National Council held a peaceful demonstration in Odorheiu Secuiesc on March 15, 2006, in favor of autonomy where 4,000 to 10,000 people took part. Five days before this, President Traian Băsescu met with Jenő Szász (the mayor of Odorheiu Secuiesc and also president of the Hungarian Civic Union), who assured the president of the peaceful character of the March 15 ceremonies and also briefly presented the UCM's vision on autonomy. On March 16 Băsescu visited the town and met with local and county officials. Băsescu declared that the Romanian administrative system should be more decentralized, but only in a symmetrical way, with no more autonomy given to the Székely Land than to any other region in Romania.
On February 12, 2007, Hungarian President László Sólyom visited Romania and met Băsescu. The discussions included the controversial topics of minority rights and autonomy. Băsescu has pointed out that the situation of the Székely in Romania is in full compliance with the standards of the European Union. He also mentioned that a referendum for territorial autonomy would be illegal and characterized the Székely initiative not as a test of the public opinion, but as a test of Romanian laws. Romania's Interior Ministry has said that organizing an informal poll is not illegal.
On 10 March 2013 thousands gathered to demonstrate for Szekler autonomy. László Tőkés also participated on the march. The protest was called "Székely Szabadság Napja" (the day of the Szekler freedom).
Views of political parties
Article 1 of the Romanian Constitution defines the country as a "sovereign, independent, unitary and indivisible national state." It has often been argued[by whom?] that, as a result of this provision, any ethnic-based territorial autonomy, including that of the Székely Land, would be unconstitutional.
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- Manifesto of the 2006 Székely Assembly
- (Romanian) Cotidianul, Secuii au cerut autonomie in linişte (The Székelys Peacefully Demanded Autonomy), March 16, 2006
- (Romanian) Saptamana Financiara, UDMR şi restul lumii (UDMR and the Rest of the World), March 27, 2006
- (Romanian) Gandul,Primarul Szász l-a asigurat pe preşedintele Băsescu că "totul va fi OK", pe 15 martie, la Odorhei (Mayor Szasz Assures President Băsescu That "Everything Will Be OK", on March 15, in Odorhei), March 11, 2006
- (Hungarian) Article about the assembly
- (Romanian) Adevărul, Veţi avea autonomie cât are şi Craiova! (You Will Have as Much Autonomy as Craiova!), March 17, 2006
- (Romanian) Romanian presidency's press release, 12 February 2007
- International Herald Tribune Hungarian president calls for increased autonomy for ethnic Hungarians in Romania, February 12, 2007
- "Székely Szabadság Napja 2013". erdelyinaplo.ro. 25 February 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
- "Tőkés László beszéde a Székely Szabadság Napján megszervezett autonómia-tüntetésen". tokeslaszlo.eu. 12 October 2013. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
- "Thousands form human chain in Transylvania for Szeklerland autonomy". nationalia.info. 28 October 2013. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
- "Megtartották a Székely szabadság napját". index.hu. 10 March 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
- Actiunea Populară, de acord cu autonomia pe criterii etnice (People's Action Agrees with Autonomy Based on Ethnic Criteria) , November 6, 2004