Will This Be Germany's First Black Lawmaker?

Karamba Diaby hopes to join parliament after September vote

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 31, 2013 4:17 PM CDT

(Newser) – It's tough to figure out what's more interesting: that Karamba Diaby hopes to become Germany's first black member of parliament, or the very fact that Germany has never had a black member of parliament. Either way, the 51-year-old immigrant from Senegal wants to make history in September's general election, reports AP. Diaby, a trained chemist, has lived in the country for more than two decades, is married to a German, and has two children, reports Der Spiegel in an earlier profile. He's running with the center-left Social Democrats, one of a relative handful of immigrants running for the 600-seat parliament. He's also trying not to make a fuss about his race.

"It could be that some people have problems with the color of my skin," says Diaby, who has recounted getting roughed up by two young neo-Nazis in his home city of Halle some time ago. "But I hope I will be accepted because I am involved in many projects." Just two years ago, he received a slew of racist hate mail when a newspaper put him on its front page. And at one recent campaign event, many of those in attendance had never met a black person before him, reports the Independent. Still, Der Spiegel gives him a "very solid chance" of winning his seat come September 22. "The fact that I'd be first African-born lawmaker is not something I would want to dwell on," says the candidate. "But a lot of eyes are on me and I hope they realize I'll be just one of over 600."

Karamba Diaby, a German Social Democratic Party candidate, smiles during an campaign stop in Halle , central Germany, Thursday.   (Jens Meyer)
Karamba Diaby talks with a potential voter.   (Jens Meyer)
Karamba Diaby hopes to become the first black member of Germany's parliament.   (Jens Meyer)
Karamba Diaby smiles during an election stop in Halle, Germany.   (Jens Meyer)
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