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Hungary PM Orbán snubbed by Romanian Prime Minister Ponta

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was the only prime minister not received by Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta at a “friends of cohesion” meeting in Bucharest last Friday, Hungarian daily Népszabadság reported. Ponta said he did not meet Orbán as he expects him to make an apology.

Kövér attended MPP events in Romania between May 24 and 27, including a commemoration of ethnic Hungarian author József Nyirő. On that occasion, Kövér criticised the reluctance of Romanian authorities to grant permission to the re-burial of the late author in his native Székelyudvarhely, and called the Romanian government’s attitude “unfriendly, uncivilised, barbaric”.

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Speaker László Kövér offended Romanians in their own country when he accused the Romanian government of “unfriendly, uncivilised and barbaric” behaviour for preventing the reburial of Nyirő, Ponta said. The Hungarian prime minister should apologise for this, he continued, speaking after a campaign event at Craiova at the weekend. Romania rejects paying tribute on its soil to people known for anti-Semitic, anti-Romanian and pro-fascist conduct and “an attempt at that was made at Odorheu Secuiesc (Székelyudvarhely),” he added. Read more about the reburial on FreeHungary.

Interior Minister Ioan Rus said if the Hungarian government fails to apologise for Kövér’s statements, he could be declared persona non grata in Romania.
Romanian authorities banned the delivery of a coffin by rail and then police stopped press chief Csaba Lukács on suspicion of possession of drugs. With the power of attorney they sifted through his baggage but found only an empty urn on him. Only three people reportedly know about the whereabouts of the writer’s ashes.
Hunor Kelemen, president of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ) said Kövér ought not to have interfered in the Romanian local election campaign.
Acts of reverence are irreconcilable with political stigmatising and the Hungarian government has no intention of communicating with the Romanian government in this regard, Péter Szijjártó, state secretary in charge of Orbán’s international relations, told Kossuth Rádió on Sunday morning.
Laterer on Monday, Romanian Senate Speaker Vasile Blaga and House of Representatives Speaker Roberta Anastase asked Kövér to postpone his visit after the country’s upcoming local elections.
On Tuesday Kövér said he insisted on his plan to visit Romania. In a letter of response addressed to the Romanian house speakers, Kövér said he would pay an unofficial visit to Romania, a friendly country belonging to the Schengen zone, as a private individual, a politician, an honorary chairman of the officially registered ethnic Hungarian MPP party and last but not least as an EU citizen but not in the capacity of a public dignitary. Kövér noted that, prior to various elections, Romanian politicians had paid similar visits to Moldova and Spain to support local Romanian political forces democratically. Kövér expressed hope that he could dispel the political concerns, and asked the Romanian side to inform him immediately if there was any legal obstacle to his planned visit.
In an open letter, Blaga and Anastase assured Kövér that he was a welcome guest, but also said they wished his activities in Romania stayed “within the well-defined framework of bilateral relations”. They added that “any direct impact on (Romania’s) democratic processes” would run against the European spirit and hinder objectives of the ethnic Hungarian minority. Signatories to the letter called it crucial for Romania’s Hungarian community to participate in the local elections “free of any influencing”. Kövér is scheduled to arrived safely in Romania’s Székely Land (Székelyföld) on Tuesday afternoon to attend an MPP rally.

In times of swift political changes, symbolic politics help to keep political camps together by reaffirming the political identities of their members, Gábor Török comments on the debates surrounding the reburial of the writer József Nyirő. The analyst believes that symbolic political debates have real political importance, and should not be seen as something completely irrational. He notes, however, that the government seems to sacrifice its centrist stance in the current culture war. Török believes that as the government has to adjust its policies to face economic realities, it needs to reaffirm the core ideological values of its supporters. For such purposes, culture wars are the most obvious tools, since they provide a way for parties to easily reconnect with their sympathizers, even when party programs change significantly. If political divides become blurred, culture wars can accentuate the cleavages between the left and the right, and thus symbolic politics is neither completely irrational nor futile, Török believes. He wonders, however, why Fidesz chose such a controversial figure as Nyirő to mobilize its supporters. The only possible answer is that the governing party wants to take the wind out of the sails of the radical Jobbik, Török believes. He admits that Fidesz has so far successfully fended off the far-right challenge, and as a result, Jobbik has not managed to lure supporters from the centre-right governing party. This strategy, however, may in the long run undermine the strategic aims of Fidesz, he warns. After its landslide victory at the 2010 elections, Fidesz seemed to aim at becoming a moderate centre-right catch-all party. By embracing symbolic projects which are more in line with radical rhetoric, Fidesz upsets that original aim, Török contends. By pre-empting radical initiatives in the hope of keeping fringe voters who lean to the far-right, Fidesz risks losing the centrist and moderate constituency, he concludes.
Source: MTI,, Hungary Around the Clock

Last Updated on Friday, 30 August 2013 09:11



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