THE CONCEPT OF NATIONAL MINORITIES AND THEIR POLITICAL REPRESENTATION: THE CASE OF CROATIA

Milan Mesić ; Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia Fulltext: pdf (137 KB), Croatian, Pages 107 – 131

Abstracts The author first deals with the concept of national minority, presenting various attempts of their legal and conceptual defining. Since there is no generally accepted definition of national minorities, even within the EU, there are still controversies on the issue of defining a group as “national minority”. In addition, there are disputes over the issue of representation and political-juridical protection of

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minorities. At the same time such international legal uncertainty allows for broad flexibility in conceptualising and implementing instruments for protection and representation. The article focuses also on some of these models, especially when it comes to Croatia. We argue that there is no clarity in who constitutes a national minority in Croatia, and thus the practice of political representation remains driven by political considerations rather than by principles. This is a source of inconsistency in legal solutions for parliamentary representation of national minorities. The author argues in favour of special representation of national minorities in the Parliament and for the instrument of double vote for citizens who belong to national minorities. This instrument is justified also because of the very significant contribution that national minorities have given to Croatian society in the past.

Keywords Conceptual Debates on National Minorities; National Minorities in Croatia; Political Representation; Minority Representatives in Croatian Parliament; Multiculturalism