GERMANY: Syriacs win municipal seats in local elections in state of Nordrhein-Westfalen

In the biggest German federal state of Nordrhein-Westfalen local elections were held on 13 September 2020 for state, city, and district government bodies e.g. municipality and district councils and for the offices of mayor. The Christian Democratic Union party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel won 34.3% of overall votes in the different state branches of government; its cabinet coalition partner the Social Democratic Party 24.3% followed by the Greens with 20% and the Free Democratic Party 5.6%.

Several Syriac politicians participated in these local elections. The following Syriacs were elected to the municipality council of their residence: Daniel Hanna (CDU, Nippes-Cologne), Gabriel Hanne and Matthias Harman (both CDU, Ahlen), Christina Coban (CDU, Rheda-Wiedenbrück), and in the border town of Gronau Ibrahim Savci and Aram Bisso were elected into the municipality council for the CDU and Antonio Josefs for the FDP.

In Gütersloh five Syriacs ran for election into the municipal council for the CDU and Die Linke, in Delbrück one for the SPD. They were not elected.

Several Syriacs in Gütersloh and Gronau were also voted into the “Integrationsrat” of their municipality of residence. The Integrationsrat is a collection of municipal committees and organs tasked with representing the interests of foreign residents.

Germany hosts some 130-150 thousand Syriacs (Assyrians-Arameans-Chaldeans). The number of Syriacs in Germany is an estimate as exact data about the major influx of Syriacs to Germany from Syria and Iraq in the last decade is not available.

The larger Syriac communities in Nordrhein-Westfalen are centered in the districts of Kreis Gütersloh, including Gütersloh, Harsewinkel, Rheda-Wiedenbrück, and Verl (together some ~15-20 thousand), in Kreis Paderborn incl. Delbrück (~5 thousand), the city of Gronau (~3 thousand), and smaller communities in Bielefeld, Stadtlohn, and Ahlen.