London elects Sadiq Khan, first Muslim mayor, after ugly campaign

Updated 9:56 PM EDT, Fri May 6, 2016
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Story highlights

Sadiq Khan is the first Muslim mayor of a major Western capital city

His victory followed bitter campaign against Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith

London CNN —  

Sadiq Khan, a practicing Muslim and Labour Party politician, has been elected mayor of London, marking a political milestone in the Western world.

Londoners voted in Khan, 45, as the first Muslim mayor of a major Western capital city. He will take office in a metropolis where his fellow Muslims comprise about 12% of the population.

His victory followed an unusually bitter campaign against Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith, the son of a billionaire, in which race and religion have proven ugly flashpoints.

MORE: New mayor wants ‘fairer and more equal’ city

The London-born son of Pakistani immigrants, Khan grew up with his six brothers and sister in a three-bedroom, public housing apartment. He studied law, became a university lecturer and the chairman of a civil liberties group, and was elected to Parliament in 2005.

MORE: Why his victory matters

Affordable housing in a city increasingly drawing the super-rich, aging infrastructure and transportation are top issues facing the new mayor.

Khan is replacing incumbent Boris Johnson, a colorful and popular figure who took office in 2008 and was a rare Conservative mayor in the Labour-leaning British capital.

Johnson is leading the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union at a referendum on June 23. He is clashing with Prime Minister David Cameron, who is in favor of the United Kingdom remaining.