Written by 00:23 World

First Black African-Born Member of German Parliament Won’t Seek Re-election

Germany’s first Black African-born member of Parliament said this week that he would not seek office again in next year’s general elections. Although he played down racism as a factor, he made the announcement in the wake of a slew of hate mail, death threats he said he has received, as well as multiple violent attacks on his office.

The lawmaker, Karamba Diaby, a 62-year-old Senegal native first elected in 2013, said in a letter written to his colleagues that he wanted to make way for a new generation of politicians, spend more time with family and that racism was “not the main reason” for his decision. But he has been outspoken about the abuse he has experienced, which has markedly increased in volume and tenor in recent years.

Bullets were fired through the window of his district office in 2020, and the office was a target of arson last year.

In an interview with The New York Times, Mr. Diaby reiterated his stance but acknowledged the attacks he had weathered were a factor in his decision. Particularly troubling, he said, was the feeling his staff were also in harm’s way. “That cannot be brushed aside,” he said. “However, I have stressed that I will never allow myself to be intimidated.”

The election over a decade ago of Mr. Diaby, who holds a Ph.D. in chemistry and emigrated to East Germany in 1985, was at the time hailed as a major win for equality. Mr. Diaby, who belongs to Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrat party, cited a desire to spend more time with family as a main reason for his departure.

Yet the far-right Alternative for Germany party, known as AfD, has been far outpolling his center-left party in his constituency.

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Last modified: 6 July 2024
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