A German village elected a Syrian man as its new mayor on Sunday with an absolute majority of 55.41% of the votes, the municipality announced in the evening.
Ryyan Alshebl, 29, who fled Syria in 2015, stood as a non-party candidate to become mayor of Ostelsheim in the south-western German state of Baden-Württemberg.
In his private life, however, he is a member of the Green Party.
He describes his experiences in the election campaign as “mostly positive.”
At the age of 21, Alshebl had fled his home town of Sweida in the south of Syria. He has now been working in the administration of nearby Althengstett town hall for seven years. As mayor, Alshebl now plans to move to Ostelsheim in the district of Calw, he said.
Alshebl is probably the first Syrian mayor in the south-west of Germany. According to the Association of Municipalities of Baden-Württemberg, there has been no other candidate with Syrian roots for a mayor’s office so far.
In the election on Sunday, Alshebl prevailed against the non-party candidates Marco Strauß and Mathias Fey.