Sunday 22 April 2018

Cologne mayoral candidate stabbed in neck

Mayoral candidate Henriette Reker was wounded during a campaign event in Cologne
Mayoral candidate Henriette Reker was wounded during a campaign event in Cologne

A leading candidate to be mayor of Cologne has been wounded in a knife attack as she campaigned a day before an election in the western German city.

Candidate Henriette Reker was stabbed in the neck in the attack at a market on Saturday morning, the city government said in a statement.

It said her life was not in danger, as did Ms Reker's campaign team.

Four other people were wounded, one of them seriously, in a scuffle as they tried to overwhelm the suspected attacker, who was then arrested. There was no immediate word on his possible motive.

The attack happened as Ms Reker was visiting a campaign stand set up by chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats.

Ms Reker, 58, is running as an independent candidate in Sunday's election but has the backing of the conservative Christian Democrats and two other parties. She has been the head of the city's social affairs and integration department since 2010.

Outgoing mayor Juergen Roters said he was "deeply shocked" by the attack.

Centre-left Social Democrat Jochen Ott, Ms Reker's main rival in the election, suspended his campaign.

City officials said the election would go ahead as planned.

Attacks on politicians are rare in Germany but there have been prominent cases.

Then-interior minister Wolfgang Schaeuble was shot by a deranged man while campaigning in October 1990, an attack that left him using a wheelchair.

A few months earlier, a mentally disturbed woman stabbed Oskar Lafontaine, then a prominent member of Germany's main opposition party, while he was campaigning in Cologne.

Press Association

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