The perspectives of ethnoregional parties in the context of decentralization

Stoyko O. The perspectives of ethnoregional parties in the context of decentralization

The aggravation of interethnic relations, deepening decentralization, strengthening regionalization create favorable conditions for the development etnoregional parties both in federal and unitary states, and attracted the attention of researchers.
The regional party is not always the product of regional differences, as they encourage political identity under regional distinctions. Moreover, they can create these identities, manipulating the opinion of the inhabitants of a certain territory. In other words, leaders of regional parties may use regional differences to form local identities, but regional differences do not necessarily lead to the formation of regional identity.
As far as more and more social conflicts are served through the prism of infringement of minority rights (ethnic, linguistic, religious) that normally live compactly in a particular area, in practice it’s quite difficult to establish the differences between ethnic and regional parties. So the most suitable notion is ethnoregional party.
Typically, etnoregional party is a product of historical development (Canada) or by-product of decentralization reforms (the UK, Spain, Italy).
The prospects of ethnoregional parties depend not only on the scope of power transferred on regional and local levels during decentralization. It should take into account the economic (the worsening of economic situation will encourage wealthy regions to seek more autonomy), political (the attempts of certain forces to destabilize the state by escalating ethnic and regional conflicts) and demographic (increase in the number of migrants) factors.
In Ukraine etnoregional parties are absent. However, the results of elections to regional councils in October 2015 gives the evidence of the existence so-called local parties, whose electoral base is limited to a certain territory and they do not impose requirements on its special status. They can be classified into the following types: charismatic, postrevolutional,  loyal, lobbying and ethnic.
The solid evidences for positive or negative impact on the state of decentralization and inter-ethnic relations in the country are lacking. To minimize the possible positive effects of decentralized institutions on positions etnoregional parties it’s necessary:  1) to minimize the influence of regional authorities on the national policy of the country and 2) avoid concentration of minority groups within the same region. In Ukraine we should refrain from any steps that weaken the unitary system and oblige political parties to register their candidates for the regional and local councils in the 2/3 of the country, which complicate the emergence etnoregional parties.
Keywords: ethnoregional party, decentralization, region, ethnos, election, separatism.

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