London 2022 elections: Lutfur Rahman wins mayoral race in Tower Hamlets in utter confusion


Uftur Rahman has made a dramatic comeback as mayor of Tower Hamlets, despite being previously impeached for electoral corruption.

In a shocking local election that was disrupted Friday, Mr Rahman defeated incumbent Labor chairman John Biggs by a combined 40,804 votes on his Aspire party platform.

In 2015, he was removed from office a year after his second term in office after an electoral court found him guilty of illegal and corrupt practices – a civil finding rather than a criminal one.

He was never prosecuted and denied wrongdoing.

Despite that cloud hanging over his reputation, Mr Rahman managed to convince voters in the East London borough that he should be given another shot at the top job.

When the results were announced late Friday afternoon, a loud cheer erupted from Mr Rahman’s supporters.

Rahman was in the running for the first time since his five-year ban expired in a close contest that saw police officers stationed outside the council’s polling booths, saying he would be mayor for the entire community.

Speaking to reporters after the count, Mr Rahman said: “The people of the municipality made a statement today. I was in the court of the people. And they said in a loud voice that they wanted Lutfur Rahman and his team to serve them for the next four years and that is what I want to do.”

Asked about his previous ban on standing up, he said: “I’m not going to comment on that. That’s not what today is about. Today is about the people of the congregation. They came out in great numbers yesterday and spoke loudly. the democratic will and they wanted change, and that change is me and Aspire.”

Asked if this was a free and fair election, he said: “I have no doubts. I have full confidence in the municipal officials, I have full confidence in the police officers in the municipality. And they have a democratic process yesterday guided”.

The win was bleakly predicted by Labor figures hours into the tally. Rabina Khan, once of Mr Rahman’s Tower Hamlets First party before defecting to the Lib Dems, was knocked out in the first round with 6,430 first preference votes.

Ms Khan had previously come second in the previous two mayoral elections in Tower Hamlets.

A longtime figure in Tower Hamlets politics reacted with dismay, telling the Standard: “It will be a bizarre version of a one-party state”, adding that the Met Police had an “abject failure” to take up the allegations of electoral malpractice. seriously in 2014.

Mr Biggs admitted his defeat and said: “I wish my successor the best of luck, who will face a huge challenge in carrying out this task. It is a tough gig, as they say.

“My role now is to accept defeat graciously. I love Tower Hamlets, it’s a great place, and I want it to become a strong and better place and I convey my best wishes to my successor and I hope he can make that happen.”

Elected mayors have more power than traditional councilors because they can approve big plans on their own without the support of other councilors. Whoever wins the mayoral race effectively gains control of the council.

The count for council functions will take place on Sunday, and the final composition of the council will be announced on Sunday evening.

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