LONDON: Sadiq Khan was elected mayor of London for a second term in a tighter-than-expected race, providing a boost to the opposition Labour party after a series of disappointing results in Thursday’s local elections, Al Jazeera reported on Sunday.
Khan, who became the first Muslim to head a major Western capital after his victory in 2016, won 55.2 per cent of the votes compared to 44.8pc for Shaun Bailey, the candidate from the ruling Conservative party.
Turnout was 42pc, lower than at the previous election in 2016, said Al Jazeera.
“I am deeply humbled by the trust Londoners have placed in me to continue leading the greatest city on Earth,” Khan said, who focused his campaign on creating jobs in the city of nine million.
The 50-year-old leader said in his second term he would focus on “building bridges between the different communities” and between City Hall and the government.
He said he wanted “to ensure London can play its part in a national recovery” and to “build a brighter, greener and more equal future” for the UK capital.
Khan has made a name for himself as a vocal critic of Brexit and of successive Conservative prime ministers, including Boris Johnson, his predecessor as mayor — as well as for a feud with former US President Donald Trump.
Khan’s re-election comes amid a bruising set of results for Labour in local elections in its former heartlands in central and northern England.
In his victory speech, Khan referred to his humble origins, growing up in public housing in an ethnically mixed residential area in south London.
“I grew up on a council estate, a working-class boy, a child of immigrants, but I’m now the mayor of London,” he said, describing himself as “a Londoner through and through”.
Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2021