Hunor Kelemen

Dr. Hunor Kelemen (born 18 October 1967, Cârța) is a Romanian politician and Hungarian language writer. The current president of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR),[1] he has been a member of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies since 2000, and was nominated as his party's candidate for the 2009, 2014, and 2019 presidential elections. From December 2009 to May 2012 he was Romania's Minister of Culture in the Emil Boc and Mihai Răzvan Ungureanu governments, a role he has reprised between March and October 2014 in the government headed by Victor Ponta.

Hunor Kelemen
Kelemen in 2016
Deputy Prime Minister of Romania
Assumed office
23 December 2020
Serving with Dan Barna
PresidentKlaus Iohannis
Prime MinisterFlorin Cîțu
Preceded byRaluca Turcan
In office
5 March 2014  24 November 2014
PresidentTraian Băsescu
Prime MinisterVictor Ponta
Preceded byDaniel Constantin
Succeeded byCsilla Hegedüs
Minister of Culture
In office
23 December 2009  7 May 2012
Prime MinisterEmil Boc
Mihai Răzvan Ungureanu
Preceded byTheodor Paleologu
Succeeded byMircea Diaconu
In office
5 March 2014  24 November 2014
Prime MinisterVictor Ponta
Preceded byGigel Ştirbu [ro]
Succeeded byCsilla Hegedüs
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
Assumed office
December 2000
ConstituencyHarghita County
President of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania
Assumed office
February 2011
Preceded byBéla Markó
Personal details
Born (1967-10-18) 18 October 1967 (age 53)
Cârța, Romania
Political partyDemocratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania
Czezar Eva
(m. 2012)
Alma materUniversity of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine of Cluj-Napoca
Babeş-Bolyai University
Philosophy teacher

In 2000, Hunor Kelemen was awarded the Order of the Star of Romania, Commander rank, and in 2008 Hungary's Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit.[2] In 2012, he married Eva Czezar; the civil ceremony took place at Cârţa Town Hall, while the religious wedding was held at St. Michael's Church in Cluj-Napoca.[3]


An ethnic Hungarian, he was born in Cârţa. He completed primary school in Ineu-Ciuc, and the gymnasium in his native locality, while practising ice hockey in the school's team. After completing high school in Târgu Mureş, he enrolled in the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine of Cluj-Napoca, graduating as a veterinarian in 1993, and then in the Faculty of Philosophy of the Babeş-Bolyai University, graduating in 1998.[2][4]

Following the Revolutions of 1989, Hunor Kelemen was one of the founders of the Hungarian language cultural magazines Jelenlét and later became deputy editor in chief.[4] After 1993 he also collaborated with the Hungarian language magazine Korunk, and between 1990 and 1997 he was editor of cultural and political shows for the Radio Cluj, part of the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Company.[2] In 1995 Hunor Kelemen published his first poetry volume in Hungarian language, Mínuszévek, for which he was awarded the Debut Prize of the Writers' Union of Romania in 1996.[4] He further published a novel, A madárijesztők halála ("The scarecrow's death"), in 1999, and a second poetry volume, A szigetlakó ("The islander"), in 2001, both in Hungarian language.[2]

Kelemen entered politics in 1997, when he was appointed as Secretary of State from the UDMR in the Romanian government's Ministry of Culture.[4] He held this post until 2000, when he was elected in the lower house of the Romanian Parliament on the UDMR list. He was re-elected in 2004 and in 2008, obtaining over 50% of the votes in his electoral college in the latter elections.[2]

In June 2009, the UDMR Council of the Union Representatives voted Hunor Kelemen as candidate for the office of President of Romania in that year's November elections. On this occasion Kelemen declared his program will include a proposal for Hungarian ethnic autonomy, in a way "that would not upset the Romanian ethnics".[5] In July, at a summer camp organised by the UDMR at Băile Tuşnad, he acknowledged that, as a Hungarian ethnic, he had no chance to win, but he presented the motives that led to his candidature: the desire of the Hungarian community of Romania to have a candidate of its own, the need to fill the traditional Hungarian segment in Romanian politics, and the need to present the message of the Hungarian minority to the Romanian majority.[6] He received 372,764 votes (3.83% of the ballot).[7] He performed better in the regions with important Hungarian communities, winning a majority in the counties of Harghita (71.2%) and Covasna (52.8%), and the second place in Mureş and Satu Mare.[8]

On December 20, 2009, Emil Boc, nominated as prime-minister by the re-elected Traian Băsescu, proposed Hunor Kelemen as the Minister of Culture in the PDL-UDMR coalition government.[9] The proposal was met with strong protests by PDL vice-president Cezar Preda, who declared that his party made the "greatest political mistake of the last years".[10] Following unofficial protests from the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, the Religious Affairs, previously subordinated to the Ministry of Culture, were put under the direct control of the prime-minister. Reportedly, the Orthodox Church was dissatisfied with being subordinated to a minister of a different denomination.[11] The cabinet was approved by the Parliament on December 23, 2009.[12]

Kelemen left government in May 2012 when the Răzvan Ungureanu government lost a vote of confidence and was replaced by one led by Victor Ponta.

Electoral history

Presidential elections

Election Affiliation First round Second round
Votes Percentage Position Votes Percentage Position
2009 UDMR372,761
2014 UDMR329,727
2019 UDMR357,014


  1. "Kelemen Hunor is the new UDMR leader: We will not leave the government and we want good ties with Budapest" Archived 2011-03-01 at the Wayback Machine, Bucharest Herald, February 27, 2011. Retrieved on July 14, 2012
  2. (in Romanian)Curriculum vitae, at the Romanian Chamber of Deputies website. Retrieved on October 6, 2009
  3. (in Romanian) Alina Brebenel, "Preşedintele UDMR, Kelemen Hunor, s-a cununat religios la Biserica 'Sf. Mihail' din Cluj-Napoca", Adevărul, July 14, 2012; accessed July 14, 2012
  4. (in Romanian)Despre mine, at Hunor Kelemen's official site. Retrieved on October 6, 2009.
  5. (in Romanian)Mediafax, Kelemen Hunor a fost votat drept candidat al UDMR la Preşedinţie. June 27, 2009. Retrieved on October 6, 2009.
  6. (in Romanian)Izabela Niculescu, Kelemen Hunor: UDMR are candidat la prezidenţiale pentru a nu ceda spaţiul politic altora, in Cotidianul, July 9, 2009. Retrieved on October 6, 2009
  7. Mediafax, Romanian Presidential Election Final Results. November 26, 2009. Retrieved on December 20, 2009.
  8. (in Romanian) Central Electoral Bureau, Rezultatele alegerilor pentru PRESEDINTELE ROMANIEI din data de 22 noiembrie 2009, pe total si judete. November 26, 2009. Retrieved on December 20, 2009.
  9. Mediafax, Romania’s PM Announces New Govt Members' List. December 20, 2009. Retrieved on December 20, 2009.
  10. Alina Neagu, LibDem deputy: PD-L commits one of the gravest political mistakes in the last two years by giving Culture to UDMR,, December 18, 2009. Retrieved December 20, 2009.
  11. (in Romanian)Realitatea.NET, Ministerul Culturii nu se va mai ocupa de rezolvarea problemelor cultelor. December 21, 2009. Retrieved on December 23, 2009.
  12. Mediafax, Romanian PM Gains Parliament Confidence Vote For New Cabinet. December 23, 2009. Retrieved on December 23, 2009.