Will Hungarians be representing Romania in Brussels?

No one really knows. The election is tomorrow. The different polls vary widely in their predictions. President Traian Basescu’s Democratic party is expected to do best, with 30-35% of the votes. Whether the Romanian-Hungarian Democratic Alliance (RMDSZ) will manage to receive the necessary five percent of the votes is unlikely.

Today’s blog, by the way, relies heavily on an article by Zoltán Tibori Szabó, a native of Cluj (Kolozsvár) and Romanian correspondent of Népszabadság.

Romania will send a delegation of thirty-five to the European Parliament. The voters in Romania will have to cast their votes for a party not for individuals. Six parliamentary parties and seven smaller parties whose support was insufficient for parliamentary representation are in the ring. In addition to these thirteen parties there is a sole individual who received permission to run as an independent: the Reverend László Tőkés. (One has a sneaking suspicion why!)

Ethnic Hungarians constitute 6.5% of Romania’s population. With an independent Hungarian candidate running in addition to the RMDSZ, it is quite possible that no Hungarian will be in the Romanian delegation to Brussels. Here are a couple of different scenarios. If participation is more than 50% of the eligible voters it can easily happen that Tőkés will not get the neccessary 2.85% of the votes but he will take away enough votes from the RMDSZ that the official Hungarian party will not reach the necessary 5% either. Then there are the optimists who hope that participation will be only 35%. In this case the RMDSZ will be able to get the necessary 340,000 votes and Tőkés the necessary 180,000 votes. Thus the RMDSZ will be able to send two delegates in addition to Tőkés. Thus the Hungarian minority in fact will have three representatives. One poll this week predicted a 54% participation while the other 35-40%.

Then there were polls taken only among Hungarians. According to these, 4.8%-5.2% of the Hungarian voters would vote for the RMDSZ while only 1.8-2.2% for Tőkés. If we can believe these numbers, it would be necessary for 10% more Hungarians to take part in the voting procedure than Romania’s non-Hungarian voters. First of all, this is unlikely. But second, the week-old polls may not accurately reflect the current situation. Fidesz has been actively assisting the Tőkés campaign. On the other hand, Wilfried Martens, former president of the Christian Democratic International and an old supporter of Viktor Orbán, showed up lately on behalf of the RMDSZ. So we can only wait and see. If the most dire predictions occur and, thanks to Tőkés and Orbán, no Hungarian is among the Romanian delegation to Brussels, I’m curious what the silver-tongued spokesman of Fidesz will be able to say. Knowing him and his party they will come up with some explanation.