Mar Galcerán: The first Parliamentarian with down syndrome in Spain
Spain marked a significant achievement by electing Europe's inaugural parliamentarian with Down syndrome, an experienced politician dedicated to dismantling barriers for individuals with disabilities.
At the age of 45, Mar Galcerán recently created a historic moment in Spain as she became the nation's inaugural parliamentarian with Down syndrome. Engaged in politics since the age of 18, she joined the conservative People's Party and steadily climbed the ranks throughout her entire adult life.
In May, Ms. Galcerán was included in the roster of candidates for the People's Party in preparation for regional elections in Valencia, located in eastern Spain.
Shortly thereafter, she secured a seat in the Corts Valencianes, the regional parliament for that area of Spain. Galcerán took the oath of office as a regional parliamentarian in September 2023.
Galcerán's achievements in politics, particularly her role as the sole individual with Down syndrome in a Spanish parliament, mark a crucial moment for the representation of people with Down syndrome not only in Spain but also across Europe and globally. It is believed that Galcerán is the pioneer, being the first person with Down syndrome to hold a position in a regional or national parliament in Europe.
For over two decades, Galcerán has dedicated her career to public service, focusing on policies aimed at enhancing inclusion for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Additionally, she has contributed to Asindown, an organization that provides support to children with Down syndrome.
Ms. Galcerán's groundbreaking accomplishment is considered unprecedented in European politics. According to Spain's Down syndrome federation, she is believed to be the first individual with Down syndrome ever elected to a regional or national parliament in Europe.
"It's unprecedented," mentioned the experienced individual to The Guardian. "Society is starting to acknowledge the significant contributions that people with Down syndrome can offer. Nevertheless, it's a long road."
Individuals with the genetic condition have previously sought political office on a global scale. Galcerán's triumph comes in the wake of Ángela Bachiller's success. Bachiller, also a woman with Down syndrome, achieved the milestone of becoming Spain's first city councilor with the genetic condition in 2013 in Valladolid. She took on the role after her predecessor resigned in the midst of corruption allegations.