Indian-origin politician sworn in as Mayor of German city

Berlin: Indian-origin politician Ashok Sridharan has been sworn in as the Mayor of Bonn, pledging to make the former German capital a major investment destination and the European hub of UN institutions.

49-year-old Sridharan, who is the son of a migrant from India and a German mother was sworn in during a ceremony in Bonn’s municipal council yesterday in presence of the councillors and representatives of the public.

As a candidate of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Sridharan had polled 50.06 percent of the votes in the mayoral election on September 13 to wrest power from the Social Democratic Party (SPD), which ruled the city for more than 21 years.

Sridharan is the first person of Indian-origin to become the head of administration in a major German city. He kicked off his five-year term on Wednesday by symbolically taking over the power from his SPD predecessor Juergen Nimptsch, who retired after six years in office.

Nimptsch announced at the end of last year that he will not seek another term when his current term expires in October.

In his maiden address to the city council, Sridharan pledged to work for building up Bonn as a location for investments, as a centre for international conferences and as a European hub of UN agencies and institutions.

He said he would engage himself together with the German federal government to attract more UN institutions and non-governmental organisations to the former German capital, which already hosts about a dozen UN agencies.