In London, the “Mayor” Sadiq Khan towards a second term, without fanfare

On May 6, Londoners elect their mayor and renew the 25 members of the London Assembly, their city council. Almost 9 million voters are called to the polls – even non-Britons can vote, provided they are domiciled in the capital. Yet, with the exception of theEvening Standard, the free London newspaper that follows the campaign day to day, this important ballot hardly elicits a line in the national media.

It must be said that even if it has substantial prerogatives – in terms of police, real estate and transport -, the post of the first directly elected city councilor of the capital has only existed for twenty-one years and, in a country highly centralized, political journalists gravitate mainly between Downing Street and the Palace of Westminster. Moreover, the suspense seems limited: the current “Mayor”, Sadiq Khan, 50, a Laborist of Pakistani origin, has a good chance of being re-elected, according to the polls which give him at least 20 points. ahead of its most serious competitor, conservative Shaun Bailey.

Ethnic vote benefits Labor

At 49 years old (50 years old in May), the latter nevertheless has the perfect profile to compete with the current mayor: both were brought up in very modest backgrounds – Sadiq’s father was a bus driver, his mother a seamstress. Coming from a family of Jamaican descent, Shaun worked as a social worker for twenty years, campaigning vigorously against organized crime and drug trafficking in the capital – an endemic problem and one of the very first subjects of concern of Londoners.

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But, according to James Johnson, a former Downing Street adviser and co-founder of polling firm JL Partners, “It’s been happening in London in recent years what is happening in other western metropolises: young people and the ethnic vote have turned to the Labor Party. In addition, the capital voted overwhelmingly against Brexit in the 2016 referendum. Finally, Shaun Bailey did not have a very good campaign and the Conservative Party did not support him much either. [à aucun moment le premier ministre, et ancien maire de Londres, Boris Johnson, ne lui a prêté main-forte]. Which is quite logical, given its low chances of success. “

“In his defense, he has not had easy years. He was barely elected when the Brexit was voted, then he followed with the attacks in London, and the pandemic. »Tony Travers, political scientist

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