That's the question that's being put to the test in the city of Ghent, Belgium. Didier Peleman, a 41-year old man with mental disability, has sparked a controversy whether a mentally disabled person should hold political office:
“I've been active in community work for 11 years. Our party's slogan is “Everyone is included” so I want to be given the chance to be councilor, to express myself and help people with disabilities,” Didier Peleman told RT's Tesa Arcila.
He says he wants to encourage voluntary social work and make the city more “accessible” to people with handicaps by promoting the use of “simple language”.
Didier's party argues that mentally disabled people are part of the community, and should have the chance to be represented in political offices. Critics, however, disagreed:
“If he's physically disabled it's not ridiculous, but he has mental disabilities so that's another question, he may have problems with reasoning,” one Ghent resident told RT.
“I think he's not capable of making decisions for other people. I do voluntary work myself with mentally disabled people. I've got a lot of respect for them, but they have to realize themselves that they are not able to do everything,” another shared.
RT has the story: Link
What do you think, Neatoramanauts? Should people with mental disability be excluded from holding political office?