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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Le travaillsite Sadiq Khan devient maire de Londres

by L’Humanite avec Agences

Labour candidate Sadiq Khan is elected mayor of London

Translated Sunday 22 May 2016, by Philippa Griffin

MP Sadiq Khan, a member of the UK’s labour opposition and the son of Pakistani immigrants, has been elected mayor of the British capital city.

Sadiq Khan is the son of a Pakistani immigrant bus driver and grew up on a London housing estate. At the age of 45 years, he has beaten his main rival, Conservative Zac Goldsmith, aged 41 years, who is the son of billionaire financier Jimmy Goldsmith. He obtained a healthy 57% of votes, according to the definitive results announced in the early hours of the morning of Saturday 7th May. The former human rights lawyer won the election following a cruel Conservative campaign which saw him repeatedly accused by his rivals – and even by the Tory Prime Minister David Cameron – of links with Islamic extremists, which he denied outright. “This election has not been devoid of argument and controversy, which makes me all the prouder to see that London has today chosen hope over fear, unity over divisions”, declared Khan following the announcement of the results at City Hall – London’s official town hall – to the applause and cheers of his supporters. “Fear does not bring us greater security; it makes us weaker, and a politic of fear is simply not welcome in our city”, Khan added. Throughout his speech, Paul Golding, the mayoral candidate from far-right party Britain First, who was standing behind Khan with the other candidates, turned his back. The Labour leader, however, Jeremy Corbyn, applauded Khan on his election, and tweeted “Congratulations @SadiqKhan. I can’t wait to work with you to create a fair London for all citizens”.

MP for Tooting, a working-class suburb in South London, Khan takes over the mayoralty from the fickle Conservative Boris Johnson, a staunch supporter of “Brexit” and who clearly holds hope of becoming the next Prime Minister. Khan, in contrast, as a former MP and father of two daughters, has promised to address the most pressing problems in the capital, whose population has recently surpassed 9 million, compared to 8.6 million of eight years ago. Such problems include prohibitively expensive housing, transport networks packed to the point of saturation, and severe pollution levels. Khan’s election, emphasises Tony Travers, Professor at the London School of Economics and specialist in local government, is a “remarkable sign of the cosmopolitan nature” of London, a “global city” where 30% of the population is non-white.

Labour suffers a near-collapse in Scotland

Although Labour can celebrate its electoral success in London, its results in Scotland and Wales show that the party’s new leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has lost seats, even if the party has not suffered the wash-out that was predicted by some. In Scotland, the Scottish National Party (SNP) enjoyed a half-hearted win, gaining 63 of the 129 regional parliamentary seats, slightly fewer than the 69 obtained in 2011. The SNP will therefore not be in a position to form a majority government as the Conservatives have reaped 16 seats more than in 2011, with a total of 31 seats. Labour in Scotland lost 13 seats, securing a total of 24 seats. Labour fared better in Wales, winning 29 of a possible 60 seats, a result which sufficed to maintain power. The anti-EU and anti-immigration party UKIP obtained, for its part, its first seat in the Scottish Assembly and two in the London Assembly.

To read also :

Boris Johnson, décoiffé au poteau (Boris Johnson, pipped to the post)

Les nouveaux défis de Jeremy Corbyn (The new challenges for Jeremy Corbyn)

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