Moroccan-Dutch woman elected speaker of Netherlands’ parliament
Ahram Online , Friday 15 Jan 2016

Moroccan-Dutch MP Khadija Arib was elected speaker of the Netherland's lower chamber of parliament on Wednesday, becoming the first Arab woman speaker of the Dutch parliament.

Arib, who was born in Morocco and moved to Netherlands at 15, swept the final vote of the House of Representatives with 83 out of 134 votes.

The 56-year-old was first elected to parliament in 1998. A Labour MP, she is a member of a number of committees, including the Security and Justice Committee, Foreign Affairs Committee and Health, Welfare and Sport Committee. She has also focused on women's issues as well as racism and discrimination.

Arib has often been criticised because of her dual Moroccan-Dutch citizenship and for being a member of a council for human rights in Morocco. The right-wing Party For Freedom opposed her appointment, later describing her election as a "black day in history", the local Dutch News reported.

Netherlands, which has a population is around 17 million people, is home to around 380,000 Dutch of Moroccan origins, according to official statistics.

Arib's election comes a time of high tension in Europe over the ongoing refugee crisis.