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