Tuesday, November 18, 2008



Oct 28 (IPS) – European society may be ready for a Black candidate, says Christiane Taubira, a Member of Parliament from French Guyana who ran in France's 2002 presidential election and won 2.32 percent of the vote.

"I think, very sincerely, given my own experience in 2002, that French society is ready to enjoy the beautiful adventure that Obama has offered to Americans," Taubira said in an interview in Paris.

"That's not to say that there's no racism in France. There is racism, there are racists and there's discrimination based on racial prejudice. There is that, but I think that France is ready for this adventure."

The only black woman in France's current cabinet, human rights minister Rama Yade, agreed.

"The French themselves are ready, “she told Le Figaro this week, “but our political system would stop an Obama appearing… "Not because he's black, but because he comes from a background of recent immigration. Here, integration is much more difficult."

Jean-Leonard Touadi, who was in 2008 elected Italy's first and only black MP, said he thought the European left's love of Obama was based more on wanting end to Republican rule than on enthusiasm for racial integration.

Asked whether he could imagine a European Obama, the Congolese-born 49-year-old said: "Going on how many blacks are currently in political parties here, we're going to have to wait a while.

A recent poll showed French voters prefer Obama against his Republican rival John McCain by a factor of eight to one, Germans, Spaniards and Italians by seven to one and the British by five to one.

But this apparent enthusiasm for a candidate running for office across the Atlantic, is not yet matched by any great success for minority politicians on the Old Continent.

In multicultural Britain, where eight percent of the population is from an ethnic minority, only 15 out of 645 or 2.3 percent of members of parliament, are people of color

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