Helen Mukoro, a Nigerian-born Spanish lawyer, is making history as the first woman and the first immigrant to run for Spain's presidency, or the role of Prime Minister. Mukoro recently emerged as the presidential candidate of her new opposition party, Union De Todos, for Spain’s upcoming general election in December, Nigeria’s the Sun News reported Sept. 3.
Mukoro gained prominence in Spain’s political scene after she founded Union De Todos, which loosely translates in English to “Union of All,” and in May she became the first Nigerian-Spanish candidate to run for mayor of Denia in Spain’s eastern province of Alicante. Mukoro lost the election, but her popularity soared and several people endorsed her for the presidential ticket, according to Nigerian newspaper the Guardian.
Mukoro, who lives in the eastern city of Denia, runs a legal firm and has worked as a legal consultant at the Red Cross Society in Spain. She served as CEO and president of the African Europe chamber of commerce and CEO and president of the National Agency of Forensic Experts, Mediators and Technical Professionals of Spain and Europe.
Apart from her career and qualifications as an attorney, Mukoro is an author and holds various academic degrees. She holds degrees in social education and criminology and post-graduate certificates in tax and labor management, forensic psychology and in immigration and domestic violence, according to her personal website.
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Mukoro said she decided to become a politician after witnessing years of economic crisis in Spain. Data published by the New Bank of Spain in September showed the European country’s debt has continued to rise, from 1.046 trillion euros in the first quarter of 2015 to 1.053 trillion in the second quarter. However, Spain’s public debt-to-GDP ratio dropped from 98 percent to 97.7 percent.
“Spain is no longer the super country that used to be everybody’s dream. I felt that Spain has to come back to be what it used to be," Mukoro said in a March interview with Nigerian newspaper the Daily Independent. "Spain has to stand on its feet. Spain is not a lazy country and Spain is not a doomed country."
Mukoro, who was born in Nigeria’s Delta state and reportedly migrated to Spain in 1992, also detailed her struggle as an African living in Spain. She said a political victory for her party would be a triumph for the African community worldwide.
“If we win, it will be victory for the whole of Africa … the victory will be a history that will never be erased,” she told the Nigerian newspaper in March. “They can say that Nigeria is the first country to produce a black leader in Spain. That will [bring] pride to Nigeria and Africa. If we get there, Nigeria and Africans in Spain will be respected in a different dimension.”
The 2015 Spanish general election is scheduled to take place on or before Dec. 20. The ruling People’s Party, led by Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, is seeking re-election for a second term in office while the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party is vying for a return to power after four years in opposition. New political parties and anti-corruption movements Podemos and Citizens have also made gains in local and regional elections, BBC News reported.