Sadiq Khan, the son of a Pakistani immigrant bus driver, on Saturday emerged the first Muslim to be elected mayor of London as it came at a period of heightening Islamophobia in Europe.
Sadiq Khan, the son of an immigrant bus driver, has become the first Muslim to be elected Mayor of London – a major Western city, after winning the contest to lead London
The official announcement was made early Saturday morning local time, but Khan led in polls against his main Conservative rival Zac Goldsmith. Khan won 1,310,143 votes, or 56.8 percent, beating Goldsmith, who got 994,614 votes.
In a speech after the announcement, Khan said he was “humbled” by the result and promised “to always be a mayor for all Londoners.”
Khan acknowledged the bitter contest, which was marred by allegations of extremism and fear-mongering. “This election was not without controversy, and I am so proud that London has today chosen hope over fear and unity over division,” Khan said. He added, “politics of fear is not welcome in our city.”
Khan, 45, was a favorite to replace flamboyant Conservative Boris Johnson as mayor. Opinion polls had put him far in the lead, with a 20 point advantage over Goldsmith, a Conservative and the son of a billionaire.
Johnson said Saturday: “Many congratulations to Sadiq on securing a huge mandate to do the best job in British politics. I wish him every possible success and will be calling him in the morning.”
Khan’s victory makes him London’s first Muslim mayor and breaks the Conservatives’ eight-year hold on City Hall.
In an official statement posted on his website, Sadiq Khan said;
“Thank you for your support
Today was an amazing victory for hope over fear and for unity over division – and it simply would not have been possible without your help.
This victory is not about me. It’s about the millions of Londoners whose lives we can improve by building more affordable homes, freezing fares, restoring community policing and cleaning up our toxic air.
Thanks to the time, money and support you gave, we were able to overcome a desperate and nasty Tory campaign. We’ve sent a strong message that the politics of fear are not welcome in London.
Now the hard work starts. Let’s make London even better for all Londoners.