International Standards on the Right to Participation of Minorities in Public Life and Representation of Minorities in the Hungarian and the Italian Parliaments
Norme internazionali sul diritto delle minoranze alla partecipazione alla vita pubblica e rappresentanza delle minoranze nel parlamento in Ungheria ed in Italia
The article first gives an overview on the international standards relevant to the right of national minorities to participate in public life, especially to minorities’ representation in legislative bodies. International instruments, OSCE and Council of Europe expert recommendations recognize various procedures that may guarantee for minorities an effective participation in public life: there is not any specific requirement to grant minorities representation in national parliament. Both in Hungary and in Italy in the past decade there have been substantial electoral law reforms and different solutions have been introduced for facilitating the parliamentary representation of minorities. In Hungary the new model of socalled nationality (minority) advocates offers representation in parliament without voting rights for all recognized minorities. In Italy the territorially concentrated autochthonous minorities get legally granted facilitation in gaining a seat in parliament. Nevertheless both arrangements leave open many questions regarding equality among minority communities,
the principle of equal voting rights, and the effectiveness of minority representation in parliament.
Keywords: National minorities; Political rights; Electoral law; Effective participation; International norms on minority rights.
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