germany mayoral candidate Henriette Reker stabbing migration ct_00004225.jpg
Getty Images
germany mayoral candidate Henriette Reker stabbing migration ct_00004225.jpg
Now playing
04:28
German politician stabbed while running for mayor of Cologne
Photos from the Sarost 5, a ship currently stuck at sea with 40 migrants on board, including 2 pregnant women. According to the ship's second captain Amman Ourari, it has been refused entry by Malta, Italy, France and Tunisia. Photos are from the ship's second captain Amman Ourari.
Ayman Ourari
Photos from the Sarost 5, a ship currently stuck at sea with 40 migrants on board, including 2 pregnant women. According to the ship's second captain Amman Ourari, it has been refused entry by Malta, Italy, France and Tunisia. Photos are from the ship's second captain Amman Ourari.
Now playing
00:50
Migrant ship stranded for two weeks at sea
Rescue boat carrying migrants from off the coast of Libya.
Karpov/SOS Mediterranee/MSF/Twitter
Rescue boat carrying migrants from off the coast of Libya.
Now playing
02:31
The journey of a ship carrying 600 migrants
Now playing
03:57
Migrant returns home to brutal reality
A young boy wrapped in a blanket to protect him from the rain gestures as migrants and refugees protest to call for the opening of the borders near the village of Idomeni where thousands of refugees and migrants are stranded on March 7, 2016. 
EU leaders held a summit with Turkey's prime minister on March 7 in order to back closing the Balkans migrant route and urge Ankara to accept deportations of large numbers of economic migrants from overstretched Greece. / AFP / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI        (Photo credit should read LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)
LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
A young boy wrapped in a blanket to protect him from the rain gestures as migrants and refugees protest to call for the opening of the borders near the village of Idomeni where thousands of refugees and migrants are stranded on March 7, 2016. EU leaders held a summit with Turkey's prime minister on March 7 in order to back closing the Balkans migrant route and urge Ankara to accept deportations of large numbers of economic migrants from overstretched Greece. / AFP / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI (Photo credit should read LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:47
A year in the life of migrants
Portuguese Air Force
Now playing
00:43
Dramatic escape as migrant boat catches fire
MOAS
Now playing
00:49
Massive rescue effort in the Mediterranean
Jaime Moreno
Now playing
00:57
Migrant boat lands on Spanish beach
A group of migrants off an incoming train walk down a platform as they are accompanied by the police at the Swedish end of the bridge between Sweden and Denmark near Malmoe on November 12, 2015. The Swedish government on November 11, 2015 said it would temporarily reinstate border checks to deal with an unprecedented influx of migrants, making it the latest country in Europe's passport-free Schengen zone to tighten its borders over the crisis. AFP PHOTO / TT NEWS AGENCY / STIG-AKE JONSSON +++ SWEDEN OUT +++        (Photo credit should read STIG-AKE JONSSON/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
A group of migrants off an incoming train walk down a platform as they are accompanied by the police at the Swedish end of the bridge between Sweden and Denmark near Malmoe on November 12, 2015. The Swedish government on November 11, 2015 said it would temporarily reinstate border checks to deal with an unprecedented influx of migrants, making it the latest country in Europe's passport-free Schengen zone to tighten its borders over the crisis. AFP PHOTO / TT NEWS AGENCY / STIG-AKE JONSSON +++ SWEDEN OUT +++ (Photo credit should read STIG-AKE JONSSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:10
Sweden's refugees by the numbers
Now playing
01:41
Migrants in Serbia: A grim life
heroic crews rescue refugees at sea orig_00000206.jpg
www.globaldirt.org/Global Dirt
heroic crews rescue refugees at sea orig_00000206.jpg
Now playing
03:29
Heroic crews rescue refugees lost at sea
A protester holds up a Turkish flag as others raise their hands during a demonstration in Taksim square in Istanbul on June 8, 2013. Thousands of angry Turks took to the streets on June 8 to join mass anti-government protests, defying Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's call to end the worst civil unrest of his decade-long rule. Erdogan, meanwhile, was meeting in Istanbul with top officials of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) to discuss the crisis, and a deputy prime minister was due to make a speech later on June 8. AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Image
A protester holds up a Turkish flag as others raise their hands during a demonstration in Taksim square in Istanbul on June 8, 2013. Thousands of angry Turks took to the streets on June 8 to join mass anti-government protests, defying Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's call to end the worst civil unrest of his decade-long rule. Erdogan, meanwhile, was meeting in Istanbul with top officials of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) to discuss the crisis, and a deputy prime minister was due to make a speech later on June 8. AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:09
Turkey: A country in turmoil
A photo released by the Italian coast guard shows babies born in a migrant rescue ship off the Sicilian coast.
Italian Coast Guard
A photo released by the Italian coast guard shows babies born in a migrant rescue ship off the Sicilian coast.
Now playing
00:50
Migrant mothers give birth on Italian rescue ship
Survivors from a boat that capsized, off Egypt's north coast, sit in a police station in Rashid in northern Egypt, on September 21, 2016.

A boat carrying up to 450 migrants capsized in the Mediterranean off Egypt's north coast on, drowning 42 people and prompting a search operation that rescued 163 passengers, officials said. / AFP / MOHAMED EL-SHAHED        (Photo credit should read MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images)
MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Survivors from a boat that capsized, off Egypt's north coast, sit in a police station in Rashid in northern Egypt, on September 21, 2016. A boat carrying up to 450 migrants capsized in the Mediterranean off Egypt's north coast on, drowning 42 people and prompting a search operation that rescued 163 passengers, officials said. / AFP / MOHAMED EL-SHAHED (Photo credit should read MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:02
Migrant boat capsizes near Egypt
In this Friday, May 20, 2016 image made from video a group of Cubans stand atop American Shoal Lighthouse off Sugarloaf Key in a standoff with Coast Guard, in the Florida Keys. The group of migrants who fled Cuba in a homemade boat and climbed onto the 136-year-old lighthouse off the Florida Keys should be allowed to stay in the U.S., according to a federal lawsuit filed on their behalf.
WSVN-TV/AP
In this Friday, May 20, 2016 image made from video a group of Cubans stand atop American Shoal Lighthouse off Sugarloaf Key in a standoff with Coast Guard, in the Florida Keys. The group of migrants who fled Cuba in a homemade boat and climbed onto the 136-year-old lighthouse off the Florida Keys should be allowed to stay in the U.S., according to a federal lawsuit filed on their behalf.
Now playing
00:46
Cubans who climbed lighthouse to be sent home
An Italian Navy ship spotted a boat with migrants off the Libyan coast and shortly after the migrant ship flipped for the precarious floating conditions given the hi number of migrants on board. Rescue operations are still ongoing also with the help of an helicopter and of a second Navy vessel. At the moment 500 people have been saved and seven are dead.
Italian Navy
An Italian Navy ship spotted a boat with migrants off the Libyan coast and shortly after the migrant ship flipped for the precarious floating conditions given the hi number of migrants on board. Rescue operations are still ongoing also with the help of an helicopter and of a second Navy vessel. At the moment 500 people have been saved and seven are dead.
Now playing
00:55
Ship flips, throws 500+ overboard
German Navy sailors surround a boat with more than 100 migrants near the German combat supply ship 'Frankfurt am Main' during EUNAVFOR Med, also known as Operation Sophia, in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, Tuesday, March 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Matthias Schrader/AP
German Navy sailors surround a boat with more than 100 migrants near the German combat supply ship 'Frankfurt am Main' during EUNAVFOR Med, also known as Operation Sophia, in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, Tuesday, March 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Now playing
01:48
ISIS infiltrates the migrant route in Libya

Story highlights

NEW: A campaign spokesman says the attack shows the risks of right-wing rhetoric

Henriette Reker wins the mayoral election in Cologne, a day after someone stabbed her

Reker strongly advocates integration and multicultural policy

(CNN) —  

A man who said he disapproved of her liberal stance on refugees stabbed her in the neck a day before voters went to the polls.

But that didn’t stop German mayoral candidate Henriette Reker from winning Sunday’s election. The independent candidate, who’s expected to make a full recovery, is poised to become the next mayor of the western city of Cologne. Preliminary election results indicate she soared to victory, winning more than 52% of the vote

While Reker recovered from her injuries, a judge ruled Sunday that the suspect accused of attacking her must stay in jail until his trial.

Reker was campaigning Saturday in an open-air market, handing out roses to pedestrians, when a middle-aged man approached her and asked for a flower.

“When she tried to give him one, he pulled out a knife and stabbed her in the neck,” campaign spokesman Frederik Schorn told CNN.

Later, the suspect vented to officers his disapproval of the candidate’s liberal policies on refugees and criticized those of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to German media reports.

Four other people sustained injuries in the attack. Police say they believe the 44-year-old man acted alone. He was carrying two knives, one of them a combat knife.

Schorn said the attack, which occurred in a German city that prides itself on diversity and tolerance, was an isolated incident – but still a frightening sign of tensions.

“In the immigrant crisis and the refugee crisis, we have a very controversial debate in Germany, and … there’s an active right wing shouting out its propaganda,” he said, “and some people are just accessible for that.”

Refugee flood

Germany has recently opened its borders to a flood of migrants pouring into Europe from Syria, Iraq and other crisis regions.

In poll after poll, large majorities of Germans have voiced approval of their government’s decision to take them in, and many Germans have turned out to train stations to welcome new arrivals with open arms and applause.

But right-wing radicals – and residents tagging along with them – have hurled stones and bottles at buses carrying migrants while screaming hate slogans at them. Dozens of new housing complexes for asylum seekers have gone up in flames lit by arsonists.

German news magazine Der Spiegel reported on its online news service that the suspect in Reker’s stabbing has had years of contact with neo-Nazi groups and with at least one far right party that has been outlawed.

Reker has stuck up for refugees as other politicians have advocated turning them out of temporary shelters, according to media reports. And she has praised new arrivals as adding value to German society.

“When I speak of refugees, I don’t speak of desperate measures and burdens but instead of potential and opportunity,” she recently said in a statement.

Reker campaign outraged

On her official Facebook page, Reker’s campaign thanked voters for supporting her at the polls Sunday.

In updates on her condition, the campaign said she was improving – and expressed its outrage over the attack.

“We are sad and appalled over the targeted attack on Henriette Reker, our colleagues and other campaign workers,” the team said. “We are shocked by the misdeed’s presumed xenophobic motive.”

The city of Cologne has a reputation in Germany for a prevalent attitude of diversity and acceptance, and Reker’s campaign platform openly appealed to this.

Her web page on her integration policy is titled, “Cologne is many-colored.” On it, she vows to promote equal opportunity and equal appreciation for of the city’s citizens regardless of ethnic, religious or gender background.

Though Reker ran as an independent, which is rare in German politics, she enjoyed broad support from Germany’s conservative, centrist and leftist ecological parties.

Schorn, the campaign spokesman, said Sunday that Reker remained hospitalized in stable condition, with her husband at her side. He wasn’t sure whether she’d learned yet of her election victory.

“I’m sure when she knows, and I’m sure her husband is going to tell it to her softly, she will be quite delighted,” he said.

CNN’s Alima Williams, Sara Mazloumsaki, Michael Holmes, Amara Walker and Dakota Flournoy contributed to this report.