Some measures taken to ensure equitable representation of minority groups should not be considered discriminatory.
- The States Parties undertake to adopt the special policies and affirmative actions needed to ensure the enjoyment or exercise of rights and fundamental freedoms of persons or groups that are subject to discrimination or intolerance for the purpose of promoting equitable conditions for equal opportunity, inclusion, and progress for such persons or groups.
- Special rules guaranteeing national minorities reserved seats or providing for exceptions to the normal seat allocation criteria for parties representing national minorities (for instance, exemption from a quorum requirement) do not in principles run counter to equal suffrage.
- In accordance with the principles of international law, the electoral law must guarantee equality for persons belonging to national minorities, which includes prohibiting any discrimination against them. In particular, the national minorities must be allowed to set up political parties. Constituency delimitations and quorum regulations must not be such as to form an obstacle to the presence of persons belonging to minorities in the elected body.
- The geographic boundaries of electoral districts should facilitate the equitable representation of national minorities.
- Special rules providing for an exception to the normal vote-counting rules, in a proportional way, in the case of a referendum concerning the situation of national minorities do not, in principle, run counter to equal suffrage.
- Certain measures taken to ensure minimum representation for minorities either by reserving seats for them or by providing for exceptions to the normal rules on seat distribution, eg by waiving the quorum for the national minorities’ parties do not infringe the principle of equality. It may also be foreseen that people belonging to national minorities have the right to vote for both general and national minority lists. However, neither candidates nor electors must be required to indicate their affiliation with any national minority.
- Sometimes there also strong demands for a better representation of national minorities in Parliament. In such cases, the electoral systems may facilitate the minority representation, for example, by the use of proportional representation systems in nation-wide or in large multi-member constituencies (without a high threshold of representation). But also PR list systems in small multi-member districts or even plurality/majority systems in single-member constituencies may ensure minority representation if the minorities are territorially concentrated. Also, the candidacy and voting form, among other things, may have an influence on minority representation. In some countries (e.g. Poland and Germany), there are “threshold exemptions” for candidates lists or parties presenting national minorities (see CDL-AD(2005)009, paras 35, 49)
- in some cases, electoral districts may be purposely designed and drawn to ensure that minority groupings are represented.