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The Limits of the State: Political Participation and Representation of Roma in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia

Author(s): Eva Sobotka

Journal: Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe
ISSN 1617-5247

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2001;
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Keywords: Roma | political participation | Czech Republic | Hungary | Poland | Slovakia

The author analyses the political involvement of Roma in the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary in the 1990s. It is argued that while Romani political participation has developed substantially over the years, political representation has not yet been attained. The author identifies models of involvement in state structures as related to the effectiveness of political participation and influence on policy formation. Romani leaders often put the bulk of the blame on governments for the absence of real political representation of Roma. The author argues that trans-national organizations have formed financial and social incentives to Roma industry that have played a key role as a 'brain drain' in attracting those who might have otherwise been involved in party politics. While political systems and demographics have precluded the possibility for an ethnic Romani political party in the Czech Republic, the Romani leaders in Hungary and Slovakia have yet to fully utilise the electroal potential of the Romani electorate.
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