Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén has labelled a voter initiative seeking the recognition of the Szekler people as an ethnic group independent of the Hungarian nation as “harmful and dangerous”.
“Szeklers are Hungarians” and “by the logic of this initiative” Hungarians could further be divided into various other ethnic groups, Semjén told MTI on Monday, emphasising his opposition to the bid.
The initiative was either submitted “with good intentions” and “based on total incompetence” or “motivated by something worse”, Semjén said, noting that Romanian politics “has long desired to declare” that neither the Csangos nor the Szeklers are Hungarians.
He said the bid went against both “historical reality” and Hungary’s national interests.
Hungary’s National Election Committee (NVB) approved the initiative on July 25. From then, the petitioner has 120 days to collect 1,000 supporting signatures for the bid, which will then be reviewed by the National Election Office (NVI). If the signatures are approved, the NVB will seek an opinion on the initiative from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The NVB will then submit the initiative together with the supporting signatures and the Academy’s opinion to parliament for a vote.