In a win for tolerance over xenophobia, independent and pro-refugee candidate Henriette Reker—who was stabbed by a violently anti-immigrant constituent during a campaign event just one day prior—scored a decisive victory on Sunday to become the next mayor of the German city of Cologne.
According to Deutsche Welle:
Reker, who will also be the first female mayor of Cologne, is currently in serious but stable condition at a local hospital with a positive prognosis for recovery.
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The election outcome is “being seen as an indicator that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s controversial open-arms welcome of refugees has broad support among German voters,” McClatchy reported from Berlin, adding:
Germany expects up to 1.5 million asylum seekers this year, and Merkel’s welcoming stance has invited a right-wing backlash.
Reker, meanwhile, had been Cologne’s top social welfare official, and as part of that job she ran the ancient city’s refugee housing program.
As CNN reported, “Reker has stuck up for refugees as other politicians have advocated turning them out of temporary shelters, according to media reports. And she has praised new arrivals as adding value to German society.”
In a recent statement, she said: “When I speak of refugees, I don’t speak of desperate measures and burdens but instead of potential and opportunity.”