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London Has Chosen its Mayor, Historical Opportunity for a Muslim Candidate - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London-The United Kingdom held local and mayoral elections on Thursday, most remarkable was the London Municipality elections, which witnessed fierce competition between the Labor candidate Sadiq Khan and the Conservative Zac Goldsmith.

The UK went to the polls on Thursday, May 5, with council elections in Britain and legislative elections in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Notably, this polling process in London is considered to be the broadest for years, and it was described as “Super Thursday”, in reference to the U.S. “Super Tuesday”.

Around 64 million British voters head on Thursday to the polling stations, following a decisive competition between the two leading candidates Sadiq Khan, a Muslim candidate for the Labor Party and his most prominent opponent, the Jewish Conservative Zac Goldsmith.

The two candidates reflect the difference and various cultural aspects that distinguishes London from other countries as the Muslim Labor’s Sadiq Khan is the son of a bus driver whereas the Jewish Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith is the son of the renowned billionaire Sir James Goldsmith and his mother is Lady Annabel Vane-Tempest-Stewart, who ascends from an Anglo-Irish aristocratic family.

John Wilkens, 50, from northwest London, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “I vote for my city London. The citizens want a mayor who is able to unite the city instead of dividing it and is capable of boosting its security and economy.”

For her part, Priya Patel, 25, who is an Indian origin elector, said, “Goldsmith failed in winning the Indians’ votes because he was unable to unite the various communities in London. I hope the candidates will meet their elections’ promises.”

Sarah Ali, 35, a Muslim electoral from Egyptian origins, said that she is seeking fair elections that serve the interests of British people and she is hoping to witness change in British policy in terms of enhanced security.

In addition, a student in London School of Economics expressed his thrill to vote in these elections, yet his hope for radical change in security policies in London remains “negligible”.

The latest opinion polls showed that Sadiq Khan has a clear lead over Tory rival Zac Goldsmith. Khan has 45% of the vote so far compared to Goldsmith’s 35.8%.

In case elections agreed with opinion polls, then Khan will succeed the Conservative Boris Johnson and will become the first Muslim Mayor in a Western country.

On the other hand, Goldsmith’s electoral campaign focused on accusing Khan of “giving platform, oxygen, and cover” to Muslim extremists, which Khan denied.

British Prime Minister David Cameron then echoed his Conservative colleague’s remarks on the House of Commons floor and criticized Khan for appearances alongside Sulaiman Ghani, a fundamentalist imam in Tooting, the constituency Khan represents in Parliament.

In a common matter, the two candidates promised to solve the problems faced by the capital city, whose population rose by 900 thousand people in eight years, thus amounting to 8.6 million. Their major electoral promises include solving the high housing prices, overcrowded means of transportation and pollution.