Alderwoman with a headscarf for Ghent

Flanders is getting its first city cabinet member to wear a headscarf.  Hafsa El-Bazioui is to become the alderwoman for personnel, North South co-operation and facility management in Ghent.

"I thought it was striking that people think this is striking" Ms El-Bazioui told VRT.

Hafsa El-Bazioui appeared on the Ghent political landscape from practically nowhere.  During the local elections she polled nearly 4,000 preferential votes, more than former premier Verhofstadt and parliamentary speaker Bracke.  She featured on the 26th place on the green slate and landed a council seat.  In 2022 she will become a city cabinet member under a deal that splits up this post over the six year council term.

Hafsa El-Bazioui earlier worked for the human resources department of Ghent municipal schools.  The new Ghent coalition intends to use quota to increase diversity among Ghent city personnel.  The coalition hopes that staff recruitment will mirror the composition of the local population, but it's not only about ethnic origin, but also about people challenged by disabilities or with low skills.