Tur ‘Abdin-born Aslan Akbas elected as chairman of the Gothenburg City Council

GOTHENBURG, Sweden – The Syriac Aslan Akbas has been elected as the new chairman (Swedish: “kommunfullmäktigordförande”) of the city council of Gothenburg. He is the first person with an immigrant background to hold the position. Akbas (59) took the office temporarily since October 27 but is now appointed to serve until 2026 in accordance with the municipal term of 4 years.

Akbas has been politically active for years for the Swedish Social Democratic Party in the city council of Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city with almost 600 thousand inhabitants. His appointment as chairman of the city council comes after he has served on the city council for 16 years. Akbas was born in the Syriac village of Enhil (Turkish: Yemişli) in southeastern Turkey. Enhil lies in the Syriac homeland of Tur ‘Abdin. He, then 15 years old, and his seven siblings came to Sweden in 1979.

In the elections this September, the Social Democrats became the largest party in the municipality. Although their left bloc failed to win a majority in Gothenburg’s 81-seat city council, they did manage to forge a coalition with support from the Center Party.

Two Syriacs from Gothenburg were elected in September to the Riksdag, Sweden’s parliament. Tony Haddou for the Left Party and Robert Hannah for the Liberals.