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Minorities in New European Democracies: A Source of Destabilization?

Minorities in New European Democracies: A Source of Destabilization? I. INTRODUCTION In this text, I shall examine the influence of ethnic minorities on the development of the new democratic regimes in post-socialist Europe. Minorities have played an important and sometimes decisive role in a number of countries. In Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithu- ania, Macedonia, Romania and Slovakia, the political elites of the ethnic majority have to deal with one or more ethnic minorities.' In this article, these countries will be taken into consideration as 'similar cases' in the sense that in each country a single ethnic minority accounts for more than about 3% of the total population and is settled in one or more regions where it forms a strong minority or even a majority. These criteria were chosen for the research topic of this article, which focuses on established democracies in which minorities have (already) been afforded the right of political participation? The right of participation is relevant to the consolidation of democracy, particularly if the political problems of ethnic minorities affect the majority's public life. The interests of small minorities may be preserved by the granting of low-level territorial autonomy or by the granting of personal autonomy through the support of cultural activities by the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png European Yearbook of Minority Issues Online Brill

Minorities in New European Democracies: A Source of Destabilization?

European Yearbook of Minority Issues Online , Volume 2 (1): 19 – Jan 1, 2002

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
eISSN
2211-6117
DOI
10.1163/221161103X00049
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

I. INTRODUCTION In this text, I shall examine the influence of ethnic minorities on the development of the new democratic regimes in post-socialist Europe. Minorities have played an important and sometimes decisive role in a number of countries. In Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithu- ania, Macedonia, Romania and Slovakia, the political elites of the ethnic majority have to deal with one or more ethnic minorities.' In this article, these countries will be taken into consideration as 'similar cases' in the sense that in each country a single ethnic minority accounts for more than about 3% of the total population and is settled in one or more regions where it forms a strong minority or even a majority. These criteria were chosen for the research topic of this article, which focuses on established democracies in which minorities have (already) been afforded the right of political participation? The right of participation is relevant to the consolidation of democracy, particularly if the political problems of ethnic minorities affect the majority's public life. The interests of small minorities may be preserved by the granting of low-level territorial autonomy or by the granting of personal autonomy through the support of cultural activities by the

Journal

European Yearbook of Minority Issues OnlineBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2002

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