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German state parliament elects its first Muslim woman speaker

The lawmaker said her victory sent a message of ‘openness, tolerance and successful integration’

Published: Updated:

A state parliament in Germany’s southern region of Baden-Wurttemberg has elected as its speaker the first Muslim woman to hold the position.

“We wrote history today,” said Muhterem Aras, who hails from Germany’s centrist-leftist Green Party, after her sweeping victory, English-language news outlet The Local reported.

The lawmaker said her victory sent a message of “openness, tolerance and successful integration.”

Aras, 50, was born in an eastern village in Turkey to Kurdish parents. She and her family migrated to Germany in 1978, and settled in the city of Filderstadt in the wealthy southern state of Baden-Wurttemberg.

She climbed the career ladder after working as a tax accountant and financial affairs spokeswoman for the Green Party.

Her political success comes soon after Sadiq Khan was elected London’s first Muslim mayor last week.