Wednesday, November 3, 2010

1st Black Mayor in Slovenia Says Race Was Not a Factor

By Brittany Hutson
OCTOBER 26, 2010

t’s a flashback to 2008 when the U.S. celebrated the election of Barack Obama as its first Black president. Only this time the victory is across the Atlantic Ocean in Slovenia, a country located near Italy, Austria and Croatia with a population of 2 million. The election of Dr. Peter Bossman, a Ghana-born physician, is a recent accomplishment for the Black Diaspora.

The 54-year-old has been a resident of Slovenia since the 1970s. He came to study medicine when the country was still part of Yugoslavia. A member of the Social Democrat party, Bossman won a runoff election on Sunday in Piran, a town with a 17,000 population in southwestern Slovenia, with 51.4 percent of votes. Reports say he could be the first black mayor elected in his region of Europe.

Slovenia natives comprise 83.1% of the country. The number of Africans are said to be few. Political analyst Vlado Miheljak told the Associated Press that this election was a test to see whether Slovenia was “mature enough to elect a nonwhite political representative.” Bossman told Reuters that he felt people did not want to be around African immigrants when he first came to Slovenia. But within the last 10 to 15 years, he believes people no longer look at the color of his skin.

During the campaign, Bossman promised to introduce electric cars and boost Internet shopping. Additionally, he hopes to boost tourism—the backbone of the town’s economy—by developing an airport and golf course.

Though he is nicknamed “The Obama of Piran,” Bossman said he is ‘no Obama’ and does not plan to seek a higher office, said the Irish Times.

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