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List of Physically Disabled World Leaders & Politicians

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  • Synopsis: A list of politicians and world leaders who currently hold or held office while having a significant physical disability - Published: 2015-05-04 (Rev. 2015-07-29). For further information pertaining to this article contact: Ian Langtree at Disabled World.

Definition: Physical Disability

A physical disability is defined as a limitation on a person's physical functioning, mobility, dexterity or stamina, eg. walking, gross motor skills, bladder control etc., as well as total or partial loss of a part of the body (eg. a person with an amputation). Mobility impairment is a category of disability that includes people with many other varying types of physical disabilities.

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"The characteristics of people with physical disabilities are as unique to the individuals as the conditions that created their special needs."

Though there are many types of disability the list below only covers physically disabled world leaders and politicians.

Physical disabilities may arise from conditions such as congenital deformities, spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, brittle bones, Haemophilia, cystic fibrosis or severe accidental injury. The characteristics of people with physical disabilities are as unique to the individuals as the conditions that created their special needs.

Physical Disability Characteristics Can Include:

  • Paralysis.
  • Unsteady gait.
  • Altered muscle tone.
  • Loss of, or inability to use, one or more limbs.
  • Difficulty with gross-motor skills such as walking or running.
  • Difficulty with fine-motor skills such as buttoning clothing or printing/writing.

NOTE: Disabled World has assembled this list from both online and offline resources. If you know of a discrepancy in this article please contact us so we can amend the entry.

Jump to Country:

Physically Disabled World Leaders and Politicians
A B C D E F G HI J K M N P R S U
A
Afghanistan
  • Mohammed Omar, Taliban leader and former head of state (lost an eye due to shrapnel injury).
Argentina
  • Daniel Scioli, former vice president and current governor of Argentina's biggest province, in 1989 lost his right arm in an accident whilst racing on the Parana river in the 1000 km Delta Argentino race.
Australia
  • Batong Pham, former member of the Western Australian Legislative Council
  • Graham Edwards, former Member of Parliament for Cowan (lost both legs during the Vietnam War).
  • Gregor McGregor, early 20th century Labor federal Senator (blind).
  • Kelly Vincent, member of the South Australian Legislative Council
  • Rob Pyne, member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly
B
Brazil
  • Golbery do Couto e Silva, chief of staff of Geisel and Figueiredo administrations (blind in one eye).
C
Cambodia
  • Hun Sen, Prime minister (blind in one eye due to a war wound).
  • Ta Mok, Khmer Rouge leader (amputated lower leg).
Canada
  • Conner Copeman, village councilor in Cumberland, British Columbia (quadriplegic with limited use of extremities after being beaten in a violent attack in Saskatoon).
  • Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development (visually impaired due to Graves' disease).
  • Kent Hehr, Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta (quadriplegic after being shot as a bystander in a drive-by shooting).
  • Lucien Bouchard, former Ambassador to France, leader of the Bloc Quebecois and Premier of Quebec (amputee due to necrotizing fasciitis).
  • Manon Perreault, Member of Parliament for Montcalm (paraplegic).
  • Marlene Jennings, Member of Parliament for Notre-Dame-de-Grace Lachine, partially blind due to detached retinas and cataracts.
  • Michelle Stilwell, Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia (quadriplegic).
  • Pierre Sevigny, former Member of Parliament and Associate Minister of National Defense (amputee).
  • Sam Sullivan, former Mayor of Vancouver (quadriplegic with limited use of his extremities).
  • Stephanie Cadieux, Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia (paraplegic).
  • Steven Fletcher, Member of Parliament for Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia (first quadriplegic MP).
Czech Republic
  • Jan Zizka, Czech general and Hussite leader, follower of Jan Hus. He took part in the civil wars in Bohemia in the reign of Wenceslaus IV.
D
Dominican Republic
  • Joaquin Balaguer, President, became blind due to glaucoma.
E
Ecuador
  • Lenin Moreno, Vice President of Ecuador 2007 - 2013, paraplegic.
F
Fiji
  • Iliesa Delana, member of Parliament and Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports (since 2014); leg amputee (due to an accident as a child) and Paralympic gold medalist.
France
  • Antoine Pinay, Prime Minister of France (paralyzed right arm due to a World War I injury).
  • Georges Couthon, one of the leaders of the French Revolution, was a paraplegic.
  • Jean-Marie Le Pen, Member of the European Parliament and three-time presidential candidate (blind in his left eye).
  • Louis XVIII, King of France, was paralyzed by gout in his final years.
G
Germany
  • Wolfgang Schauble, minister (currently of finance, formerly of the interior) and former CDU party chairman; wheelchair user since 1990 assassination attempt.
H
Hungary
  • Bela II, King of Hungary (1131 - 1141), was blinded by his father's political opponents in 1113
  • Ferenc Hirt, Member of Parliament for Tamasi (since 2006); wheelchair user due to a car accident since 1988
  • Katalin Szili, Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary.
I
Indonesia
  • Abdurrahman Wahid, famous clerics and the head of largest Islamic organization Nahdlatul Ulama, former parliament member, founder of National Awakening Party - Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa (PKB), President of The Republic of Indonesia (1999-2001), blinded due to car accident.
Israel
  • David Rotem, member of the Knesset (polio).
  • Ilan Gilon, member of the Knesset (paralyzed leg due to polio).
  • Moshe Dayan, Defense Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel (lost his left eye in World War II).
  • Moshe Matalon, member of the Knesset (paraplegic due to injury sustained in the Yom Kippur War).
  • Ya'akov Katz, member of the Knesset (injury sustained in the Yom Kippur War).
  • Zion Pinyan, member of the Knesset (polio).
J
Jamaica
  • Floyd Morris, President of the Senate. (Blind)
K
Kingdom of Jerusalem
  • Baldwin IV of Jerusalem, King of Jerusalem, grave physical impairments as a result of his leprosy.
M
Malaysia
  • Karpal Singh, member of parliament for Bukit Gelugor (car accident left him a full-time wheelchair user with neurological problems in his right arm).
Mexico
  • Alvaro Obregon, President, lost his right arm in combat.
N
New Zealand
  • John A. Lee, MP 1922-1943, left arm amputee (war wound during the First World War).
Norway
  • Guro Fjellanger, former Environment Minister (wheelchair user due to spina bifida).
  • Tove Linnea Brandvik, former Member of the Parliament of Norway. In a wheelchair due to a neuromuscular disease.
P
Poland
  • Malgorzata Olejnik, member of Sejm.
R
Republic of Venice
  • Enrico Dandolo (1107- 1205), 42nd Doge of Venice, blind.
Russia
  • Said Amirov, former mayor of Makhachkala. Paralyzed as a result of one of many assassination attempts.
  • Vasily II, the Grand Prince of Moscow, was blinded by his captors in 1446, yet regained power and reigned until his death in 1462.
S
San Marino
  • Mirko Tomassoni, former Captain-Regent (paraplegic).
Solomon Islands
  • Martin Magga. Became seriously ill and wheelchair-bound in 2009 while serving as Minister for Health. Served as MP, in a wheelchair, until his death in 2014.
Soviet Union
  • Vladimir Lenin, 1st Head of Government of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, mute and bed-ridden after a series of strokes.
Sri Lanka
  • Senarath Attanayake, Member of Uva Provincial Council. The first elected representative with a disability in Sri Lanka. Also the first person with a disability to become a lawyer in Sri Lanka. Full-time wheelchair user due to polio infection at the age of 2 years.
U
United Kingdom
  • Anne Begg, MP since 1997, wheelchair user.
  • Colin Low, Baron Low of Dalston was born blind.
  • David Blunkett, former Home Secretary, is blind since birth.
  • David Maclean, Baron Blencathra, MP (1983 - 2010) currently sitting to the house of Lords, since 1996 has Multiple sclerosis.
  • Davina Ingrams, 18th Baroness Darcy de Knayth, member of the House of Lords, paralyzed from neck down following a car accident.
  • Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister, is blind in one eye.
  • Ian Fraser, Baron Fraser of Lonsdale, MP several times between 1924 and 1958, then first life peer appointed to the House of Lords in 1958, blinded in action during the First World War.
  • Jane Campbell, Baroness Campbell of Surbiton, disabled rights activist and member of the House of Lords, was born with Spinal muscular atrophy.
  • Nick Griffin, Chairman of the BNP, is blind in one eye, following an accident in 1990 involving a shotgun cartridge.
  • Susan Cunliffe-Lister, Countess of Swinton and Baroness Masham of Ilton, politician, had several parts of her body paralyzed following a car accident.
  • Tanni Grey-Thompson, Baroness Grey-Thompson, disabled athlete and Member of the house of Lords, was born with Spina bifida.
United States
  • Bob Dole, former U.S. Senator from Kansas and 1996 presidential candidate, has had a withered, useless arm since a World War II injury.
  • Bob Kerrey, former Governor of Nebraska and former U.S. Senator from Nebraska, lost one leg below the knee due to combat injury in the Vietnam War.
  • Daniel Inouye, former U.S. Senator from Hawaii, lost his right arm due to grenade shrapnel in World War II.
  • David Paterson, former Governor of New York, legally blind from birth.
  • F. B. Teter, Member of the Washington House of Representatives (1919 - 1923), blind.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt, former President of the United States (paraplegic due to polio).
  • George Wallace, former Governor of Alabama, paraplegic due to a bullet wound sustained in a 1972 assassination attempt.
  • Greg Abbott, current Governor of Texas and former Texas Attorney General, paraplegic due to a 1984 freak accident when a falling oak tree hit him in the back.
  • James Langevin, current U.S. Representative from Rhode Island, was injured in an accidental shooting when 16 and is now a quadriplegic.
  • John McCain, current U.S. Senator from Arizona, limited use of arms and "off-kilter gait" due to torture as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War.
  • John Porter East, former U.S. Senator from North Carolina, (paraplegic due to polio contracted in 1955).
  • John Swainson, former Governor of Michigan, lost both legs due to a landmine in World War II.
  • Jon Tester, current US Senator from Montana, lost 3 fingers in a meat grinding accident.
  • Kristen Cox, 2006 Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, blind from Stargardt disease.
  • Max Cleland, former U.S. Senator from Georgia, triple amputee (both legs and one arm) due to a grenade blast in the Vietnam War.
  • Mo Udall, former U.S. Representative from Arizona, lost his right eye in a childhood accident.
  • Tammy Duckworth, current U.S. Congresswoman from Illinois, lost both of her legs and damaged her right arm due to a rocket propelled grenade attack in the Iraq War.
  • Thomas Gore, former U.S. Senator from Oklahoma, blind from childhood accidents.
  • Woodrow Wilson, former President of the United States, partially paralyzed due to a stroke.


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