Minority Party Regulations in EU28, Norway and Switzerland

The research on Minority Party Regulations in EU28, Norway and Switzerland was conducted by ECMI Interns in December 2012. The research was supervised by ECMI Director Dr. Tove Malloy and ECMI Senior Research Associate Dr. Andreea Carstocea. The research outcomes are presented in the Table on Minority Party Regulations.

The table provides a comparative perspective on the legislative measures for exempting national minority political parties from state/federal and/or local parliamentary thresholds in 30 European countries. The analysis reveals a conservative trend across Europe. Exemptions are in place in countries that have traditionally provided protection for national minorities after comprehensive post World War II inter-state settlements involving states and the respective minority kin-states (Italy-Austria and Germany-Denmark, as well as in Switzerland). Two of the countries, which signed specific Minority Treaties at the Paris Peace Conference at the end of World War I, have chosen to adopt exemption legislation after the Cold War (Poland and Romania).

Government coalitions at the national level involving national minority parties have been, or are currently, in place in six European countries, and four countries currently see governing coalitions at the local/regional level. However, parliamentary exemption from threshold does not secure participation of national minority parties in governing coalitions. In fact, the data shows that only one – Germany (S-H) – of the five countries that practice parliamentary exemptions currently have governing coalitions involving national minority parties.    

The information underpinning the above conclusions is presented in the attached table. Data for the table has been compiled from a number of publicly available sources provided online by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Council of Europe, the OSCE online database “Legislationline”, the European Academy’s (Bolzano/Bozen) online database ‘MIRIS” and governments’ official websites, as well as academic literature.

Download the table on Minority Party Regulations in English

Download the table on Minority Party regulations in German


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