Kurdish politicians seek parliament election in German region


Three Kurdish-German politicians in a northwestern region in Germany are seeking to be elected as members of the parliament, as the state prepares to vote on the 18th round of its legislature on Sunday.

The region of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), regarded the most populous in Germany, is home to the largest Kurdish diaspora community in Europe and has good relations with the Kurdistan Region. 

Twenty-nine parties will compete for 181 seats in the parliament, and the upcoming election is considered crucial for NRW’s Kurdish population, with three candidates being of Kurdish origin. 

Berivan Aymaz, Serdar Yuksel, and Nasruddin Akay are three Kurdish-German politicians among the candidates running for NRW’s parliament. Yuksel and Aymaz are seeking re-election, while Akay hopes for first time election into the legislature.

Aymaz, 49, is the deputy of NRW’s Green Party and the bloc’s spokesperson for migration and foreign affairs. Born in eastern Turkey (Bakur) and residing in the city of Cologne, Aymaz has been an MP of the NRW parliament since 2017.

"According to the predictions, this is the first time in history of my circle that I’m leading in the polls as a Green Party candidate and I have the chance to benefit from the direct votes of this circle, as a woman who was not born in Germany, but it is her home,” Aymaz told Rudaw.

Yuksel, 48, has been an active member of NRW’s Social Democratic Party since 1989, and their number one figure in the city of Bochum since 2001. Yuksel’s origins come from Bakur, but he was born in the city of Essen in Germany, and has been a member of the NRW parliament since 2010. 

"We are now at a stage where great changes are occurring. There is a war, and we are constantly faced with issues of injustice which has made us very sad. The most important thing is to preserve the socialist state so that we don’t lose democracy and peace,” Yuksel said.

The people of NRW highlighted the importance of the upcoming election for their region, and for the preservation of democracy as a whole.

 "I will participate in the election process because I want democracy to live. Democracy survives when people go and vote. It is very important to me. I’m going to vote because I don’t want right-wing extremists to get more votes,” social worker Natali Vogt told Rudaw.

The polls predict that the Green Party will see an almost 100% increase in their seats in the elections, while the social democrats are expected to maintain their wins from the previous elections and the Christian democrats are expected to lose many seats


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