Monday, November 06, 2006

Nine O'Clock: Marko Bela, Laszlo Tokes join forces in quest for autonomy

Marko Bela, Laszlo Tokes join forces in quest for autonomy
The two decided not only to carry on, but also to strengthen dialogue, stating that during their Friday meeting topics were only outlined, to be extensively discussed in the next meeting due in December.
published in issue 3803 page 2 at 2006-11-06

CLUJ-NAPOCA – UDMR President Marko Bela and Laszlo Tokes, President of the National Council of Magyars in Transylvania (CNMT) decided on Friday to establish a joint forum to fight for the Szecklers’ County autonomy.The two Magyar leaders agreed to establish an association fostering regular talks between UDMR and officials for the National Council of Magyars in Transylvania. It is for the first time in months that the two leaders of the Magyar community, known to have had divergences, agree on a prospective cooperation. In 2002, the Reformed Piatra Craiului Bishop was removed as UDMR Honorary President, and in December 2003 he established the CNMT.The two decided not only to carry on, but also to strengthen dialogue, stating that during Friday’s meeting topics were only outlined, to be extensively discussed in December, in the next meeting. Also, the joint work group will draw up a document laying down the common goals of the two parties – CNMT and UDMR – including possible autonomy forms.“Compulsory unity is not enough for the Magyars in Transilvania to reach their national goals. Magyars need more: understanding and dialogue between players in the political, civil and religious arena of the Magyar ‘mini-society’ in Transylvania. Unity alone does not guarantee rapid success, but without it chances are even slimmer,” Laszlo Tokes pointed out.The Piatra Craiului Bishop also pointed out that leaders of the Magyar community have been brought to the same table by their shared interests as to Bucharest, Budapest and Brussels.While a referendum on autonomy is hard to organise, Tokes believes there are means to articulate Magyar goals in the political life.Marko Bela and Laszlo Tokes agreed that in future meetings they should also tackle issues on which their views differ, precisely in order to eliminate disunion.The Vice-Premier stated that at present the legal framework does not allow for the Szecklers’ County autonomy to be gained through referendum, but that one of the means that would allow for higher cohesion of Magyars in Transylvania would be establishment of local council associations in Harghita, Covasna and some Mures County localities.Marko Bela, Laszlo Tokes – possible MEPs from UDMRUDMR Deputy Toro Tibor will propose party leadership that the list of Union candidates for the European Parliament should be drawn up under the coordination of President Marko Bela jointly with CNMT President Tokes Laszlo.The UDMR Deputy, who is also a CNMT member, stated that the unity message for parties representing the Magyar community could be strengthened if Marko Bela and Laszlo Tokes were both included in the MEP candidate list. “There are common interests in UDMR getting more votes, including from people who do not feel represented by the Union. The final decision on this proposal will be made by the Union Representative Council (CRU).Fodor Imre – interim CNS presidentThe Standing Commission of the National Szeckler Council (CNS) decided Saturday that the new president will be Fodor Imre, until delegations of Szeckler branches convene to make a final decision. The position has been vacant since Csapo Josef’s resignation early last week. The new CNS President stated that apparently a local referendum on territorial autonomy is pointless, therefore only an internal referendum will be organised, unofficial and without legal effects.According to Fodor Imre, those Szeckler local councils who believe they can successfully organise an internal referendum will initiate one by mid-December.UCM, one step from party statusCollecting signature for the registration of Magyar Civic Party is drawing to a close, as UCM has several hundred signatures left to collect in the Capital. Hazda Zoltan, President of the Magyar Civic Union – Sfantu Gheorghe told Mediafax that out of the 25,000 signatures, most have been collected and Union leaders hope that by end-November – early December at the latest the operation will be finalised, so that the party can be registered in Court before European Parliament elections. The new Magyar Civic Party is intended as an alternative to UDMR, having as its main goal the achievement of the Szecklers’ County autonomy.
by Ioana Dragan


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