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Minority MP candidates more or less content with Slovenia-Hungary relations

Lendava, 21 April - The three candidates who are running for the post of the Hungarian minority MP in Slovenian parliament have described Slovenia-Hungary relations as good. One of them believes that the two neighbouring countries do not yet know each other well enough though, and sees untapped potential in their cooperation.

The candidates responded to questions from the STA on their platforms and planned priorities, the situation of the Hungarian community in Slovenia and Slovenians in Hungary, relations between the countries, Hungary's investments in non-minority areas that some deem contentious, and their stance on what to do as a minority MP in a hung parliament situation.

If re-elected in the 24 April general election, Ferenc Horvath, the incumbent Hungarian minority MP, would build on the projects implemented so far, such as renovation of school buildings, additional funding for farming, business and youth, and a joint fund for the border regions Pomurje and Porabje that is aimed at promoting an ethnically mixed area on both sides of the border.

He is proud that the Slovenian and Hungarian governments set up the fund at his initiative. Hungary must be able to invest in Slovenia same as any other country, he told the STA.

As a minority representative he has never defined himself in party terms, so he distances himself from any efforts to either form or overthrow governments as he considers this to be the right and responsibility of political parties.

If elected, Mihael Kasaš, Horvath's challenger for the post, would prioritise efforts to ensure peaceful coexistence, equality, respect for constitutionally guaranteed rights and cooperation with the governments of both countries. He would strive to carry on with and upgrade the projects he finds beneficial, and provide more transparency and cooperation will all.

There is always room for improvement, he said, noting that Hungary and Slovenia did not know each other well enough. There is a lot of untapped potential in their cooperation, Kasaš believes. He too sees himself as a representative of an ethnic community and not a political party, so in the event of a close vote on the fate of the government, he would therefore abstain.

Another challenger, Otto Močnek, would do away with the incompatibility of dual offices in a minority MP, an issue that has been in the spotlight as Horvath was fined in February after two courts had upheld the anti-graft watchdog's view that he is in breach of this. Horvath also serves as the head of a minority organisation.

Močnek said he would ensure transparency in minority funding, create new jobs, and deliver value-added projects. The Hungarian community in Slovenia is slightly better off than the Slovenian community in Hungary, he said, assessing the relations between the countries as good.

The minority needs expertise and decisions that are more democratic, and investment must be economically viable according to market economy principles, he believes. He considers himself a centrist politician, and given a hung parliament situation, he would support one side.

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© STA, 2022