The Strategist

One chair to rule all London

05/05/2016 - 14:56

The London mayoral elections are being held today in Great Britain. In addition to representatives of the Labour and Conservative parties, the chair of the British capital’s mayor is claimed by the leader of ‘One Love’ party, supporters of marijuana legalization, and even by a Polish prince. The mayor of the British capital mainly performs economic functions, yet victory of a candidate from one of the leading parties will help strengthen its position in the run-up to a referendum on withdrawal from the EU.

secretlondon123 via flickr
secretlondon123 via flickr
According to opinion polls, the race favorites are representative of the Labour Party Sadiq Khan, and Conservative aristocrat Zac Goldsmith.

Khan is the former Minister of Transport. He has been named the "politician of the year" among British Muslims twice. The main points of his program appeal to the social sector, support for ethnic and religious minorities, limiting price increases on public transport, as well as opposition to Heathrow airport’s expansion, which affects many citizens of London's neighborhoods. 

Khan, who would be the first Muslim head of the city, is popular among the active part of the citizens.

A lawyer by training, he was a member of Labour's shadow cabinet.

During the campaign, Khan has spoken harshly against the Mayor of London’s policies in 2000-2008. Then, the city’s head was his fellow party member Ken Livingstone, recently took a liberty to make anti-Semitic comments. "I believe that the party leadership should take a tougher stance against anti-Semitism. If we are talking about xenophobia, selectivity is unacceptable. Racism is Racism ", - said Khan.

The Labour candidate’s opposite is Zac Goldsmith – a journalist, heir to a large fortune of his father, billionaire James Goldsmith.

The main idea of his program is the struggle for environmental protection. In his programme, Goldsmith targets on improving the investment climate and enhancing the city’s economic status. He also promises an explosive growth of London’s labor market – particularly, an increase in the number of jobs by at least 300 thousand.

Mayor of London is a relatively new position, established in 2000. Prior to this, the capital had been managed by the Greater London Council, established in 1965 and disbanded by Margaret Thatcher just 20 years later. Mayor is elected for four years. He can do so unlimited number of times as long as he is supported by the electorate. The current Mayor Boris Johnson has previously stated that he would not run for a third term, but focus on the parliament activities instead. It is possible that he may even take a higher government post.

It is important not to confuse the Mayor with the Lord Mayors, which has existed since the twelfth century. Today, their functions are mainly ceremonial, and they have a purely formal authority.

Mayor of London controls  the London police, transport and housing infrastructure, economic development of the capital, as well as cultural events, operating with a sufficiently serious budget of £ 17 billion.


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