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Strategies of Secession and Counter-Secession

The Political Participation of Minorities in Hungary and the Limits of their Influence

Balázs Dobos
Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Balázs Dobos
Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences

The relevant literature on Hungary’s minority policy and minority rights regime after the transition is marked by some inconsistent findings that on one hand highlight the fact that the country granted extended minority rights and non-territorial autonomy for its domestic minorities in the early 1990s, others on the other hand, assume that it has been motivated by foreign aspirations with an eye to putting pressure on the neighbouring states. Moreover, recent researches reveal that this motivation was rather limited and even the domestic minority needs could not be fully achieved, and although they could participate through different organizations (associations, ethnic parties, and minority self-governments) in each period they were constrained in some cases of decision-making processes. The examination of the effective minority participation in public life provides an important theoretical vehicle to address the question whether the contrast above can be obviously identified, and to analyze the extent of minority political participation. Drawing on policy document analysis and in-depth interviews and providing an evaluation of the recent past the case study aims to introduce and critically assess how minorities react to the institutional challenges, how they utilize institutional settings, and to what extent the most important provisions affecting minorities reflect their interests and needs, the domestic ethnic conditions, how they comply with minority goals or, in sum how far the minority actors’ influence extends.
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