Monday, September 23, 2013

Germany elects its first black African lawmaker

Senegal-born Karamba Diaby has become the first black African to be elected to Germany’s national parliament.

He was elected to the delegation of the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) from the eastern state of Saxony Anhalt.
The 51-year-old has lived in Germany for three decades and became a naturalised citizen 12 years ago.
He joined the SPD in 2008, and became an elected councillor in the eastern city of Halle the following year.

Diaby’s bid for a constituency seat failed in Sunday’s election, but he won a spot in the SPD proportional-representation delegation.
He said he would work in parliament to secure a legal provision in Germany mandating a minimum hourly rate of pay for all workers, and would also focus on better integration of migrants.
Diaby has a doctorate in chemistry. He was raised by his older sister in Senegal and at age 24 moved to then communist East Germany.
He settled in Halle in 1985. He is married to a German and has two children.
Recent German parliaments have included people of a variety of ethnic origins, including members of the country’s large Turkish community.
Free Democrat Party leader and Economics Minister Philipp Roesler, who lost his seat, was born in Vietnam and adopted by Germans.
Josef Philip Winkler, a Green Party member whose mother is Indian, also lost his seat in parliament on Sunday.
White Germans born in Africa have almost certainly been among the lawmakers since 1949, parliamentary aides say.

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