Three candidates of Roma ethnic origin running for Parliament in the opposition’s United for Hungary coalition have sent a joint statement to news agency MTI.
If given the chance to serve in Parliament, “we will serve our homeland and the interests of the nearly one million-strong Roma community to the best of our knowledge and conscience.” They intend to act in unity if this “historic opportunity” is provided to them.
We will use all of our powers and opportunities to promote the betterment of the gypsy population, and thus further the real social integration of the Roma.
-write the three candidates, while adding:
Aware that we may win our mandates while each representing a different party, with different political values, and coming from different regions of the country, we feel it is our obligation to help build a community whose identity is strengthened by breaking down the divisions of the last three decades. By making the most of the parliamentary group framework and taking into account the rules governing groups, we will make heard all of the voices pushed to the periphery of society.
The candidates declared their support for “uplifting the poorest in the country, reducing all social disparities, and promoting an active role for Roma youth in community and public life.”
Towards this end, along with the members of our parties and their voters, we invite our fellow parliamentary candidates, all civil organizations, public figures, and our partners who identify as Roma to unite in partnership, listening to the voices of social groups, representing their interests, and helping each other on a new, common path towards the future.
-reads the joint letter from the Roma candidates.
The United for Hungary candidates of Roma origin are (pictured from left to right):
- Lajos Lőcsei – Momentum
- Sándor Berki – Dialogue
- Ferenc Varga – Jobbik
It was originally the opposition’s prime ministerial candidate, Péter Márki-Zay, who advocated for ethnic Roma candidates on the opposition’s party list. Márki-Zay said last fall that at least three Roma politicians should be among the top 30 spots on the joint coalition’s list, “so that the gypsy population would have a real chance to improve their lot.”
In the end, the parties complied with Péter Márki-Zay’s request in the final composition of their joint party list, putting Sándor Berki from Dialogue in the 15th spot, Lajos Lőcsei from Momentum in 20th, and Ferenc Varga from Jobbik in 25th.
[Telex][Pictured: Lajos Lőcsei, Sándor Berki, and Ferenc Varga, Photo: Momentum Mozgalom / Facebook]