UK Politics

Sadiq Khan: Global figures and media react to London mayoral victory

Sadiq Khan is photographed with a mobile phone in front of Tower Bridge, London Image copyright PA

Labour's Sadiq Khan has been elected Mayor of London, becoming the city's first Muslim mayor.

The news has prompted headlines around the world, and Politicians and city leaders have taken to Twitter to congratulate him, including the left-leaning mayors of New York and Paris.

Image copyright Bill de Blasio
Image copyright Anne Hidalgo
Image caption Paris mayor Anne Hildalgo tweets: "Congratulations to @SadiqKhan, elected Mayor of London. Convinced that his humanism and his progressivism will benefit Londoners!"

Congratulations also came from Ahok Basuki Purnama, the governor of Jakarta. He became Jakarta's first Christian governor in 50 years when he was elected in 2014.

Jemima Goldsmith, the sister of Conservative party rival Zac Goldsmith, congratulated Mr Khan on his victory. The ex-wife of Pakistani cricketer and politician Imran Khan also appeared to criticise her brother's campaign.

'Role model' for millions

The New York Times describes Mr Khan's victory as "striking" and leads with the fact that he is London's first Muslim mayor. It described London as a city with an acute shortage of affordable homes and a creaking, overcrowded mass transit network.

Image copyright New York Times

A commentary in German news magazine Der Spiegel describes Mr Khan's win as a "victory over Islamophobia", and says London is breaking new ground. "The mayoral election shows that London is more liberal, clever and tolerant than the Conservative mudslingers would like to think," it says.

Image copyright Der Spiegel

Qatari daily Al-Sharq says: "Once again, the British capital enters history, this time through the gate of democratic victory by electing a Muslim of immigrant descent as its mayor."

Image copyright Al-Sharq

Pakistan's Dawn newspaper says that Khan should see himself as a role model for millions of Muslims living in Europe.

With the rise of increasingly popular right-wing parties across the continent, the paper's Brussels correspondent Shada Islam writes that "Khan's story should help set the record straight on immigration, integration and European Muslims".

History Professor Juan Cole points out that Mr Khan is by no means the first Muslim in charge of a European city. In a popular blog post he traces the history of Muslim rule in Spain, Greece, the Balkans, and Sicily. "Not to mention that Constantinople/Istanbul is one of the larger European cities... the mayor there is a Muslim," he says.

Bus drivers 'new elite'?

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, former co-chair of the UK Conservative Party, and Business Secretary Sajid Javid congratulated Mr Khan and pointed out their similar backgrounds.

"Bus drivers are clearly the new Etonians" quipped writer and conservative activist Tim Montgomerie, referring to the elite public school attended by Prime Minister David Cameron and Mr Goldsmith.

Image copyright Sayeed Warsi

In France's Le Figaro, London-based French essayist Laetitia Strauch-Bonnart says "two images of the United Kingdom" faced each other in this election: The "exemplary success story" of Mr Khan's life and "the billionaire's son", Mr Goldsmith.

"In order to appeal nowadays, it is better to have a disadvantaged background, a personal history made of difficulties and social mobility," she told the paper. "It's the spirit of the time, and Goldsmith was not on the right side."

Finally, before the result was in, former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt tweeted a warning about how Mr Khan could possibly be treated if Republican hopeful Donald Trump was to become US President.

Image copyright Carl Bildt

More on this story