Labour politician Sadiq Khan has won the mayoral election in London. He will thus become the first Muslim mayor of a European capital city.
Khan won 56.8 percent of the vote after the second ballots were counted, while Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith got only 43.2 percent, according to an election official in London on Saturday night.
The previous Conservative mayor Boris Johnson, who is known beyond the borders of London, was not running again. London mayor elected directly by citizens. Sadiq Khan promised in his acceptance speech to be a mayor of all residents.
More public housing and support for local economy
Sadiq Khan, the son of a Pakistani-born bus driver, promised more affordable housing during his election campaign. The politician had himself grown up in council housing. London has been suffering for years from sharply rising rents and a simultaneous shortage of social housing. In addition, Khan promised support for the local economy.
Around three million Muslims live in the UK, one in eight Londoners is Muslim. During the campaign, Khan did not hide his faith, but stressed that his faith was just one of many things that made him tick: "I am a Londoner, a European, I am British, I am English, I am of Islamic faith, of Asian descent, of Pakistani descent, a father, a husband," he said.
Death threats from extremists
His Conservative rival, Zac Goldsmith, had tried to use Khan's faith to his advantage. Accused of pandering to Muslim extremists. Yet Khan is considered liberal. He had received death threats from extremists after voting for same-sex marriage in the British Parliament.
London has only had a mayor responsible for the whole city, which consists of many different municipalities, since 2000. However, he has limited power compared to mayors in other capitals. Among other things, he has influence on the city's transport policy, police as well as housing policy. But many other decisions are made in municipal parliaments.
The voter turnout was 45.6 percent. Labour won nine of the 14 London constituencies. Five won by conservatives.