Syrian refugee wins 'sensational' election for mayor of German village

Syrian refugee wins 'sensational' election for mayor of German village
Ryaan Alshebl, a Syrian refugee who moved to Germany in 2015, was elected mayor of the village of Ostelsheim in southwest Germany.
2 min read
04 April, 2023
A Syrian who arrived in Germany as a refugee was elected mayor of the village of Ostelsheim [Getty]

Ryyan Alshebl, a Syrian man who arrived in Germany as a refugee in 2015, was elected mayor of a village in the southwest of the country. 

Alshebl, 29, who is a member of the German Green Party, stood as a non-party candidate in the mayoral election and won an absolute majority in Ostelsheim, a small municipality of around 2,500 people in Baden-Wurttemberg. 

Alshebl described the vote as "sensational" after winning the election and said the village had "set an example for broad-mindedness and cosmopolitanism for the whole of Germany", according to The Guardian,

Germany has hosted more than 1 million Syrian refugees who reached their borders since the 2011 war in Syria broke out, following the Assad regime's brutal suppression of peaceful protests.

Alshebl was born in Suweida in southwest Syria in 1994. He had started studying towards a degree in finance and banking before he was forced to leave the country following the outbreak of the Syrian civil war. He later completed a dual apprenticeship as a clerk in Germany. 

Despite there being hundreds of thousands of Syrian, Afghan, and other refugees in Germany, very few have reached prominent public posts.

Just 1.2 percent of Germany’s mayors have a migrant background, despite them making up 27 percent of the population. 

 
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