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The Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) was established on December 25, 1989, being registered with the Bucharest District 1 Courthouse on January 28, 1990, according to 'Political Parties' released by the AGERPRES National News Agency in 1993.
The main objective of the Union is the preservation of the identity and the development of the Hungarian community in Transylvania, according to udmr.ro. UDMR encourages the decentralisation process and the application of the principle of subsidiarity, with the purpose of achieving cultural autonomy for the small communities, and self-determination for the ethnic Hungarians in the regions where they are a majority. It also supports a democracy based on the rule of law and the social market economy, and its manifesto mentions specific objectives in the field of education, family affairs, economy and foreign policy, according to the UDMR official website.
The Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania is an organisation with a cultural platform, not registered as a political party (according to Law 14/2003, chapter IV). It runs in local and general elections under article 62 (2) of the Constitution of Romania and in accordance with the provisions of Article 4 (2) of Law 68/1992, which equals national minority organisations to political parties for the purpose of the electoral process.
In 1996-2000, UDMR was part of the Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR) government. Between 2004 and 2008, it was initially at rule together with the D.A. Alliance, and after the Liberal Democratic Party (PDL) joined the opposition, it remained in a coalition with PNL. Following the legislative elections of December 2008, the union joined PNL in the opposition, but after the second round of presidential elections on December 6, 2009, it returned to power with PDL where it remained until May 2012. It also joined the Ponta III coalition government, between March and December 2014.
UDMR became an observer member of the European People's Party (EPP) in March 1998, and an associate member in October 1999. Currently, it is a full EPP member. UDMR is also a member of the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN), according to udmr.ro.
Since its establishment on December 25, 1989, UDMR has had three national chairs: Domokos Geza, Marko Bela and Kelemen Hunor.
Domokos Geza (April 22, 1990 - January 15, 1993)
Domokos Geza was elected national leader of UDMR at the first convention of the union and reconfirmed to this position at the second convention of the UDMR Congress in May 1991. Under his tenure, the union garnered 7.23% of the votes to the Chamber of Deputies, meaning 29 seats, and 7.2% of the ones to the Senate (12 seats) in the elections of 1990. In the 1992 elections, UDMR received 7.64% of the votes to the Chamber of Deputies (27 seats) and 7.58% to the Senate (12 seats). In the 1990-1992 legislatures, the UDMR national leader held a seat representing Covasna County in the Chamber of Deputies. Domokos Geza relinquished chairmanship in 1993.
Marko Bela (January 15, 1993 - February 27, 2011)
Marko Bela became the union's leader at the third convention of the UDMR Congress in January 1993 and re-elected in 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007.
In 1996, UDMR garnered 6.64% of the votes to the Chamber of Deputies and 6.82% to the Senate, that is 25 and 11 seats, respectively. In 2000, the electoral score of UDMR was slightly higher, at 6.8% of the votes to the Chamber and 6.82% to the Senate, with the number of seats in the Chamber increasing to 27 and the ones in the Senate to 12 as against 1996. In 2004, UDMR got 6.2% to the Chamber of Deputies (22 seats) and 6.2% to the Senate (10 seats). In the 2008 parliamentary election, it captured 6.17% of the vote to the Chamber (22 seats) and 6.39% to the Senate (9 seats).
In the 2007 European Parliamentary elections, UDMR captured 8.92% of the votes, winning two MEP seats, despite it competing against the independent candidate Laszlo Tokes, who got 3.47% of the votes and a seat. At the European elections of June 2009, UDMR got 8.9% of the total valid votes, a score that secured it three MEP seats, with Tokes being the first on the UDMR list of candidates.
In the 2004 local elections, UDMR obtained 2,481 of local councilor offices. In the 2008 local election, the first to be held under a single transferable vote system, UDMR obtained four offices.
Marko Bela ran for president of Romania in 2004, gaining 5.1% of the votes.
Between December 29, 2004 and July 3, 2007, UDMR national chairman Marko Bela was a senior official in charge with the coordination of activities in the fields of culture, education and European integration, in the Tariceanu government. He was deputy prime minister in the governments Boc IV (December 23, 2009 - September 3, 2010) and V (September 3, 2010 - February 6, 2012) and again deputy prime minister in the Ungureanu cabinet (February 9 - May 7, 2012).
He has been a Mures senator in all legislatures since 1990.
Also under Marko's tenure, UDMR became a full member of the European People's Party.
Kelemen Hunor (February 27, 2011 - present)
Kelemen Hunor became the national leader of UDMR at the 10th convention of the union's Congress in February 2011, being reelected to office at the conventions of April 2015 and February 2019.
He was minister of culture and national heritage between 2009 and 2012, while between March and October 2014 he was deputy prime minister and minister of culture and national heritage. He has held a seat in the Chamber of Deputies since having ran in the electoral district no. 21 Harghita (2000-2004, 2004-2008, 2008-2012, 2012-2016, 2016-present). All this time he has been a member of the Chamber of Deputies Committee on Culture, Arts, and Mass Media.
Kelemen was the UDMR candidate for the highest public office in Romania in the 2009 election, capturing 3.83% of the votes, and in the 2014 election, when 3.14% of the voters elected him, as well as in 2019, where he got 3.87% of the total valid votes cast.
In the local elections of June 2012, UDMR won two county council chair offices and five in 2016.
In the general election of December 9, 2012, UDMR got 19 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 9 in the Senate, receiving 5.13% of the votes to the Chamber of Deputies, and 5.23% to the Senate. In the general election of December 2016, the union garnered 21 seats in the Chamber of and 9 in the Senate, for 6.18% of the votes to the Chamber of Deputies and 6.24% to the Senate.
In the May 2014 European election, UDMR got 6.29% of the votes, a score that secured it two MEP seats, the same as in 2019.
On January 18, 2019, UDMR celebrated its 30th anniversary. On that occasion, Kelemen Hunor said that here, on their homeland, the Hungarians must preserve their national identity. "We know what kind of a country we want, what kind of a future we want for the Hungarians in Transylvania. We want a country where citizens are equal and ethnic communities are equal, not only at the declaratory level, but also in terms of real rights," said Kelemen at the Hungarian Theatre House in Cluj-Napoca.
Hungarians in Romania make up one of the largest ethnic minorities in Europe, according to udmr.ro. According to official 2011 census data, 1,237,746 people, that is 6.5 percent of the entire population of Romania, are registered as ethnic Hungarians. AGERPRES (RO - Horia Plugaru, editor: Cristian Anghelache; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Adina Panaitescu)
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