The Hungarians living in Romania form one of the largest national minorities in Europe. The official data of the 2002 census reveal that 1,431,807 citizens (6.6 per cent of the total population of Romania) consider themselves Hungarians. The overwhelming majority (98.9 per cent) of the Hungarian population of Romania lives in Transylvanian counties (Arad, Bistriţa-Năsăud, Bihor, Braşov, Alba, Harghita, Hunedoara, Cluj, Covasna, Caraş-Severin, Maramureş, Mureş, Satu Mare, Sibiu, Sălaj, Timiş). During the last census 19.6 per cent of the total population of this region declared themselves Hungarian. In Mureş County the proportion of the Hungarian population is 39.3 per cent. The Hungarians form a majority of 84.6 per cent in Harghita County, while in Covasna County they make up 73.8 per cent of the population. Census data reveal that 41 per cent of the Hungarians in Romania belong to the Roman Catholic Church, 46.6 per cent to the Hungarian Reformed Church, and 4.5 per cent to the Unitarian Church. After the fall of the communist dictatorship, on December 25th 1989, the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (DAHR) was founded to represent in public the interests of the Hungarian community in Romania.
The fundamental principles underlying the Program of the DAHR are the values of universal human rights, of individual and collective national minority rights, as well as those of the rule of law based on parliamentary democracy and equality of chance. At present, its membership is organized into territorial organizations, political platforms and associated members in accordance with the principle of internal pluralism. Associated members are social, scientific, cultural and other professional groups.
The Alliance operates according to the principle of self-government. It accomplishes its program within and through the territorial organizations, the largest autonomous units of the Alliance that are established from their own initiative and operate in compliance with their own internal rules of procedure.
The supreme decision-making body of the Alliance is the Congress. When the Congress is not in operation its powers devolve to the common session of the Council of Representatives and the Council of Mediation, respectively the Operative Council. The Council of Representatives is a political decisionmaking body formed of representatives elected through internal elections, respectively of senators and deputies, territorial presidents and the representatives of youth organizations. The Council of Mediation is the decision-making forum that represents and coordinates the interests of Hungarian civil organizations and churches, accomplishing thus the pluralism of values and interests of the Hungarian civil sphere in Romania.
The President performs the supreme representation and political coordination of the Alliance.
The Executive Presidium is the executive body that carries out the resolutions of the Congress, the common session of the Council of Representatives and the Council of Mediation, the Council of Representatives and the Operative Council. The Executive Presidium makes decisions within its own sphere of activity and is lead by the Executive President. The executive vice-presidents are in charge of different fields of activity such as territorial organizations, self governments, government, education, churches, economy, culture, integration, youth, social and community issues and lead the different departments. The consultative bodies of the Alliance are: the Consultative Council of Territorial Presidents, the Consultative Council of Platforms, and the General Council of DAHR Mayors and Councillors, the body of mayors, deputy mayors and councillors elected on the lists of the Alliance.
Due to the results obtained during the 1990, 1992, 1996 and 2000 elections, to its activity in local selfgovernments, the parliament as well as in government structures, the DAHR became a major, practically unavoidable factor in Romania’s political life. Its significance further increased during the 2004 local and parliamentary elections. The representative organization of the Hungarians in Romania became member of the government coalition for the second time (after 1996-2000). By taking part in the legislature (10 senators – 7.3%, 22 deputies – 6.6%) and the government coalition, the DAHR assumed and assumes an important role in strengthening Romania’s democratic institutional system, in implementing general economic and social reforms and in making preparations for European integration. At the same time, one of its major tasks continues to be the affirmation of the respect for internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms within the framework of the rule of law.
At present, the DAHR runs the self-governments of five Transylvanian counties (Bihor, Harghita, Covasna, Mureş and Satu Mare) and has mayors in cities where Hungarians live in minority like Satu Mare, Reghin, Marghita and Jimbolia. The elected representatives of the DAHR are present in the local selfgovernments of 77 cities and 376 communes.
The Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania is member of the European Democrat Union (EDU), the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN) and the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) and the associated member of the European People’s Party (EPP).
Recognition of national minorities as constituent element of the state based on the constitutional principle of equality and non-discrimination;
Development of social conditions, which allow each citizen to freely assume, preserve and nurture his/her ethnic identity;
Consolidation of the rule of law grounded on the separation of powers; Increase the autonomy of local public administrations and local communities based on the principle of self-government and devolution of power;
Consolidation of the legal framework determining the functioning of market economy;
Return in integrum of illegally confiscated church and community properties; Restitution of private properties that were nationalized, expropriated or confiscated for political reasons, either through the return of property or equitable financial compensation;
Codifying the legal status of national minorities based on positive European practices, including the implementation of different forms of autonomy; Preparing the population of Romania for the accession to the European Union, assuring the conditions for Hungarians to be the winners of integration;
- that national minorities freely use their mother tongues in private and public life, as well as in the administration of justice;
- the development and operation of an independent native-language school system, controlled by minorities, encompassing all levels and all types of instruction;
- the establishment of an independent system of cultural institutions;
- the establishment and maintenance of unimpeded contacts across frontiers with their mother nations.
Development of complex inter-ethnic relations based on mutual appreciation and respect between the Romanian majority and the national minorities.