In London’s mayoral race, the Labour Party’s Sadiq Khan beat Conservative Party candidate Zac Goldsmith to become the city’s first Muslim mayor.
The results came in early on Saturday local time, more than a day after the polls closed.
According to the BBC, Khan was ahead of Goldsmith by a comfortable margin after the first votes were counted; he led 44.2 percent to 35.6 percent. The Associated Press reports that election officials say Khan defeated his rival “by more than 300,000 votes, after first- and second-preference votes were allocated.”
The Guardian reports that Khan beat Goldsmith by 57 percent to 43 percent after the second round.
Khan’s religion became a flashpoint throughout the campaign. The AP writes that “Khan, who calls himself ‘the British Muslim who will take the fight to the extremists,’ accused Goldsmith of trying to scare and divide voters in a proudly multicultural city of 8.6 million people — more than 1 million of them Muslim.”
Goldsmith responded by accusing Khan of “playing the race card,” the BBC reported in January.
As the Two-Way reported earlier this week, the two candidates occupied very different spaces in the political and social world:
“Khan, who is Muslim, was a human rights lawyer before joining Parliament. His parents immigrated to London from Pakistan. His father was a bus driver in the city for more than 25 years, according to his campaign website.
“As Lauren Frayer reports for NPR, Khan ‘was born in South London, one of eight children. The family lived in public housing.’
“Goldsmith, an environmental activist, used to edit The Ecologist magazine. His father was billionaire Sir James Goldsmith.
” ‘They’re the two faces of London, rich and poor, immigrant and blue blood,’ Lauren notes.”
In his victory speech, Khan was quoted by The Guardian as saying that he’s proud London chose “hope over fear, and unity over division.”