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The new Slovene parliament will include one member of each of the country's two national minorities under a system which guarantees their representation in elected bodies. One deputy will represent the Italian minority, numbering some 3,000 people living along the coast close to Italy; another will represent the Hungarians, numbering about 9,000, who live along the border with Hungary.
Such a position is guaranteed by the Slovene Consitution which refers to an 'adequate representation of the two national communities in Parliament and local authorities' (Art. 64). The Constitution also provides for 'the compulsory election of two members of Parliament belonging to the Italian and Hungarian national communities' (Art. 80). In practice, the two national minorities have a double right to vote, once for a candidate on the basis of his or her political platform, the other for a deputy belonging to the national minority.
Extreme right-wing groups in Slovenia have already claimed that such representation was unconstitutional. However, their claims were rejected by Slovenia's Constitutional Court, which concluded that such positive discrimination was not in contravention of the Constitution. 'The particular right to vote of the members of the two national communities is the expression of the protection guaranteed by the Slovene Constitution to such communities and their members', said the Court in its judgment.