Two political parties have offered Roma citizens living in Rimavská Sobota (Banská Bystrica Region) and Kráľovský Chlmec (Košice Region) money if they claim to be of Hungarian nationality in Slovakia's May census, the chairman of the Roma Union Party (SRÚ), František Tanko, alleged at a news conference in Bratislava on Thursday, March 24. He did not name the parties, but said that the price being paid was €7 per head.
"We have come to the conclusion that it needs to be reported to the police," Tanko said, as reported by the TASR newswire. Tanko added that his party is collecting evidence at the moment.
"There have been people urging Roma to claim Hungarian nationality for €7, with €5 per head going to families and €2 to the middlemen," said Tanko, adding that "it works on the same principle as it does before elections," when vote-buying, sometimes on a significant scale, has often been alleged in Roma communities.
Tanko announced that the SRÚ will be openly campaigning in April to urge Roma people to declare their Roma nationality. Coalition party Most-Híd denied paying Roma people to claim Hungarian nationality. "Quite the reverse – Most-Híd actually urges citizens to claim their true nationality. In this spirit we've kicked off a campaign that among other things features multilingual billboards, including those using the Roma language," said Most-Hid spokesperson Nora Czuczorová.
The Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK), Slovakia's other main party representing Hungarians, "distances itself" from the allegations made by Tanko, TASR reported, citing party spokesperson Eva Dunajská.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
25. Mar 2011 at 10:00