Maria Liberia Peters

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Maria Liberia Peters (born May 20, 1941) was the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Antilles from 1984 to 1986 and from 1988 to 1994.

Born Maria Peters in Willemstad, Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles, she attended school and earned a teaching degree in the Netherlands. She later married Niels Liberia, a civil servant. Together they adopted two children.

Liberia Peters fell into politics almost accidentally. She was involved in children's issues alongside teaching as her main profession. She felt that going into politics was the only way to achieve substantial changes, saying, "There comes a moment when you realize that if you really want to make a difference, the only way is through politics, and then you walk right into it. In my own case, I thought. Well, I’ll try it, and if I don’t like it, I’ll say goodbye. But then you realize you’ve entered a one-way street, and you remain because you are continually challenged."

Her road to politics began in the 1970s, when she started parents' groups and became a member of the National People's Party. In 1975, after being encouraged by others to run for office, she earned a seat on the Curaçao Island Council where she stayed a member for the next five years. In 1982 she was appointed to the legislature of the Netherlands Antilles and also became the Minister of Economic Affairs. After the coalition government she worked under collapsed in June 1984, she agreed to form a new coalition and was elected as Prime Minister, a position that she held from 1984-1986 and later from 1988-1994. She attempted a third run in 1994 but her party lost the election. She did however, remain in Parliament.

Prime Minister Maria Liberia Peters is a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, an International network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers whose mission is to mobilize the highest-level women leaders globally for collective action on issues of critical importance to women and equitable development.

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