AMSTERDAM–Samira Rafaela (30) has achieved what she set out to do. This week she became the first woman of Afro-Caribbean descent to win a seat in the European Parliament (EP).
The D66 candidate with Curaçaolenean roots is one of three female candidates from the Netherlands who received so many preference votes during the EP elections on May 23 that they still get to occupy a seat in Brussels. The two other female politicians are Liesje Schreinemacher (VVD) and Kim van Sparrentak (GroenLinks).
Their appointments bump the number of Dutch women in the EP to 12 of the 26 Dutch EP parliamentarians. Rafaela, who was number three on the D66 list, replaces Raoul Boucke, the D66 candidate of Surinamese descent who had been number one.
The choice to replace the initial candidates with the female candidates who received preferential votes was spearheaded by Foundation Stem Op Een Vrouw (Vote for a Woman) that advocates for more women in politics. To make its recommendation the foundation, had painstakingly gone through the results of the elections, it was reported.
The Dutch Labour Party PvdA became the largest Dutch party in the European Parliament, winning six seats.
Rafaela, whose father was of Ghanaian and Nigerian origin, grew up in the Dutch town of Uitgeest with her mother who is from Curaçao. During her campaign she said she wanted a seat in the EP to represent minorities’ issues at European level, but also on behalf of the people of the Dutch Caribbean.
“It is important that the people from the Dutch Caribbean see themselves as part of the European family. They have just as many rights as all other European Union citizens to take part in Europe,” she said.
She was the only candidate who visited the Dutch Caribbean, touring Curaçao, Bonaire and Aruba from May 4 to 11, “to hear what people consider important and what keeps them busy, because it is important that these sounds and signals also find their way into the European Parliament. We are all part of the European family,” she told The Daily Herald then.
Bron; Daily Herald