Pan-European study shows Spain lagging in terms of ethnic diversity, political representation in Congress

Rita Bosaho, Podemos deputy from Alicante and Spain's first Black Congresswoman. Photo: Pepe Olivares / El País
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• 10 pct of population foreign-born, but under-represented in Congress •

A new study of the number of immigrants elected to public office across Europe places Spain at the bottom of the ranking table in terms of ethnic diversity in the national Congress of Deputies.

The results of the Pathways to Power, shows that while the foreign-born population in Spain has increased in recent years to stand at nearly 10 percent of the total population today, fewer than 1 percent of all legislators elected to Spain’s national Congress are either foreign-born or the children of foreign-born immigrants.

The survey results place Spain below Greece and Italy in terms of diversity in the national parliament and far below countries like the Netherlands and the UK, which have similar numbers of foreign-born residents. Some observers say part of the reason that Spain is lagging may be due to the fact that its waves of immigration are relatively more recent than in other European countries and that it may simply take longer for immigrants to move up the power chain to greater political representation.

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