Now that’s progress – 36 of the 630 lawmakers in the newly elected 18th parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany are not actually German! That is to say, they were either not born here or their parents were not born here, so they are not “ethnic Germans.” In the last Bundestag, only 21 deputies had a “migration background” or “personal experience of migration,” to use the politically correct terms. That means the percentage of immigrants in the Bundestag has risen from 3.4 percent to 5.7 percent.
Particular attention is being paid to the election of Karamba Diaby and Charles M. Huber. Their arrival in the Bundestag means both the Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats now have an African-German in their parliamentary party. Diaby, who hails from Senegal, studied in former East Germany. The Bavarian actor, writer and politician Huber, whose father immigrated to former West Germany, is also from Senegal. They are the first two black people in the German parliament.
Around one-third of the other 34 new lawmakers with migration backgrounds come from EU states. The number of Bundestag freshmen whose migrant background is Turkey – Germany’s largest immigrant community – has more than doubled from five in the last legislative period to 11 in the new Bundestag.
It’s also interesting that every party represented in the Bundestag now has migrants in its parliamentary ranks. In the last legislature, the CDU had one migrant, the SPD four and the FDP – now no longer represented in the Bundestag after failing to make the five-percent threshold – also had four. The Left Party and the Greens each had six.
In the new parliament, eight CDU lawmakers come from immigrant families. In addition, the CSU, Angela Merkel’s Bavarian allies, who previously had no migrants among their ranks, now also have one migrant-background lawmaker. The Social Democrats have increased their “quota” threefold and now have 12 non-ethnic German deputies. The Left Party has eight and the Greens seven.
In view of the fact that until the end of the 20th century, the elites of the Federal Republic rejected the view of Germany as a country of immigration – which it indisputably has been since the end of the 1960s – that is impressive progress. And it may be noted that overall, the integration of migrants in a country that until recently didn’t even have an immigration policy, functions astoundingly smoothly – the headline “Burning suburbs in the Bundesrepublik!” has yet to be printed.
But it must also be said that the number of immigrants in the general population is three times the percentage in the Bundestag. So there’s still some way to go before these new citizens are properly represented in the federal parliament. But at least things are finally moving in the right direction.