[Muhterem Aras was elected president of Baden-Wuerttemberg state parliament on 11 May.]
Stuttgart: Turkish origin Muhterem Aras has been elected as the first Muslim woman to become the speaker of a state parliament in Germany.
“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 started her political career in 1992 by standing for the Green Party on the local council. She was the parliamentary leader of the party from 2007-2011. She gradually rose to enter the Baden-Württemberg state parliament and become the Landtag President.
She climbed the career ladder after working as a tax accountant and financial affairs spokeswoman for the Green Party.
This is considered a ‘historic’ step for the country where thousands of refugees have risked their lives to reach from various countries around the world particularly Iraq and Syria which has seen brutal civil wars.
There are been increased tensions and even hostility towards the effects of immigration in the country. More than one million people have been allowed to settle in the country. Many European countries are still struggling to handle the influx of illegal refugees in the countries and borders have been sealed to prevent them.