samedi 6 septembre 2008

CEM ÖZDEMIR, Turk MEP on the way to lead Germany's Green Party

Saturday, September 6, 2008
BERLIN - Agence France - Presse

A European Parliament deputy looks set to become the first politician of Turkish origin to head a major German political party.

Cem Özdemir, 42, is poised to become one of the opposition Green party co-leaders after his rival for the post, Volker Ratzmann, withdrew his candidacy because his wife is expecting a child, the party said in a statement Thursday.

Özdemir is the charismatic son of Turkish immigrants who went to Germany as part of a "guest worker" programme in the 1970s. The country is now home to about 2.5 million people of Turkish origin.

He belongs to the reformist wing of the Greens grouping pragmatic, pro-business members and, if chosen, will replace current party co-leader Reinhard Bütikofer, who is no longer standing for the job.

The new leadership is to be voted in at a party congress November 14.

Özdemir became the first politician of Turkish origin to be elected to the country's parliament in 1994, after becoming a German citizen two years earlier. He was elected a member of the European Parliament in 2004.

© 2005 Dogan Daily News Inc.

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