Romani Studies

Ambiguous nationalism? Explaining the parliamentary under-representation of Roma in Hungary and Romania

Romani Studies (2009), 19, (2), 103–124.

Abstract

This article explores why Roma are under-represented in the national assemblies of Central and Eastern European states, using Romani political parties in Hungary and Romania as case studies. Specifically, I ask whether the absence of a clearly defined conception of Roma nationalism at the national and transnational level accounts for the under-representation of Roma in the Hungarian and Romanian parliaments. This ambiguous nationalism stands in contrast to invocations of nationalism by other minorities in the region, notably the Turkish minority in Bulgaria and the Hungarian minority in Romania, whose electoral support is contiguous to their respective demographic weights. Both of these minorities link nationalism to specific cultural interests whereas the interests of Roma tend to relate to socio-economic and political factors. Whilst many factors conspire to impede the appropriate political representation of Roma across Central and Eastern Europe, this article seeks to shed light on the oftneglected impact of Roma nationalism.

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Author details

McGarry, Aidan