Syrian Kurd became a Polish district councillor

Shivan Fate will represent the opposition Civic Coalition (KO) in a local council in north-western Poland.

Mr Fate is a Kurd of Syrian origin. He has been living in Police near Szczecin, north-western Poland, for 19 years now, and is a Polish citizen.

“Before being granted citizenship I had also participated in Polish civic life thanks to my EU residence card. However, this citizenship is very important for me as now I can vote just as my friends and neighbours”, he told the news channel TVN24.

Standing for KO, he became the district councillor after winning in his municipality, securing 16.83 percent of the vote during last Sunday’s Poland-wide local elections.

“I think it is the work I have done here over the last five years that won over the support of the people”, Mr Fate said. “I have been living here for a long time and the people know me. That where this high number of vote comes from, I think.”

The outgoing councillor, Anna Rybakiewicz, commented: “Shivan, this is not just your victory or that of the KO, it is also a triumph of a tolerant, open Poland of the future, where patriotism is considered in the categories of duty and work, not privileges.”

“I know that you will proudly represent our municipality”, she added.

Talking about negativity he had to face during his campaign, Mr Fate admitted: “I met with instances of hate. However, the campaign was predominantly a positive one.”

“Someone asked if there are no longer any Poles in our municipality to run. I did not consider this to be directed at me. I am a Pole, so it did not bother me,” he added.