Croatian conservatives call for a vote on limiting minority rights

ZAGREB (Reuters) – Croatian conservatives campaigning for a change in electoral laws have submitted enough signatures to parliament to call a referendum on cutting the legislative rights of ethnic minority groups, the conservative group said on Wednesday.

The group said the proposal called for reducing the number of lawmakers in parliament from 150 to a maximum of 120. This would also reduce the number of MPs representing minorities and prohibit them from voting on crucial issues, such as government formation. and the budget.

A vote could take place in September or October, the group said.

“We now have a situation where … minorities can decide whether the government will fall or survive … which is why we believe they should only deal with issues relating to religion, culture or identity,” said the HINA news agency quoting Dominik Knezovic. , said a representative of the People Decides group.

Knezovic argued that the initiative was constitutionally correct and that many members of minority groups voted for general lists instead of lists from their own groups.

About 329,000 Croats belong to ethnic minorities out of a population of 4.3 million. Ethnic Serbs are the largest group, accounting for 4 percent, according to the latest census. The protection of minority rights was one of the conditions for the country’s accession to the European Union in 2013.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic had previously rejected the initiative, saying such a vote would be unconstitutional. The Independent Serbian Democratic Party is a junior coalition partner in the center-right Plenkovic government.

Reporting by Maja Zuvela in Sarajevo, editing by Larry King

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