Not a single federation has been successful in demarcating the territorial matrix of the federation into ethnically pure subnational units. This includes federations that are primarily designed to accommodate ethnic diversity. There are usually ethnic minorities scattered in the midst of subnational majorities. The focus of this contribution is on how the institutional design of states can be used to respond to the challenges of minorities within minorities. This article proposes the adoption of constitutional principles that would guide ethnically plural subnational units in their dealing with internal minorities. A subnational constitutional framework that is based on the constitutional principles of self-rule (and possibly shared rule), this article argues, represents the best hope in addressing the majority-minority tension that characterizes subnational units in multinational federations
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