Germany: Syrian elected mayor eight years after arriving as refugee

Ryyan Alshebl (pictured above on a campaign poster) has become a mayor in Germany, only eight years after arriving in the country as a refugee/Photo: Ryyan Alshebl/Facebook

The inhabitants of Ostelsheim, in the district of Calw, state of Baden-Württemberg, elected Ryyan Alshebl as their new mayor on Sunday with an absolute majority of 55.41 per cent of the votes.

The 29-year-old, who arrived in Germany as a refugee from Syria in 2015, had run for election as a non-party candidate. He defeated two native German candidates – Marco Strauß and Mathias Fey – who were also independent candidates.

Alshebl, who fled his hometown of as-Suwaida in the south of Syria at the age of 21, has made history with his election. According to the Gemeindetag Baden-Württemberg, there has been no other candidate with Syrian roots for a mayor’s office in the state’s history.

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“My special thanks go to all voters: you made history yesterday! A big thank you also goes to those who did not vote for me: I stood for everyone and will be mayor for everyone,” the new mayor said in a post on his Facebook page on Monday.

Alshebl will assume office as mayor of the Swabian village of 2,507 inhabitants on 18 June.

There is an African-born mayor in the state. In October 2021, Dr Joy Alemazung won the election for mayor of the city of Heubach, near Stuttgart, with an outstanding result.

The Cameroon-born politician, who ran as an independent candidate, won a whopping 66.22% of the popular vote, resoundingly defeating more than six other contestants.

Sola Jolaoso

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