Abstract

Parties of ethnic minorities are flourishing in a large number of ethnically divided democracies. While academic research has studied their emergence and success, we know little about intra-group party competition. This paper discusses the reasons for intra-group political plurality, with a focus on intra-party conflict and intra-group party competition: it explains the political orientation of ethnic minority parties and their intra-group challengers as a consequence of the inclusion of minority parties into government. The inclusion of minority parties into national governments produces an inherent conflict between pragmatic office-seekers and radical partisans. In minority parties that have governmental responsibilities, the pragmatist view overwhelms, while in those parties in opposition, radical voices dominate. The formation of two intra-Hungarian challenger parties in Romania and in Slovakia in 2007 and 2009 represents two very similar cases, which appear to be in line with our hypotheses.