Britain’s Muslims See London Mayor Race as Victory
Vote counting is under way in London where Britain's capital could be getting its first Muslim mayor as Sadiq Khan, a 45-year-old former government minister and son of Pakistani immigrants, appears headed for victory in what British Muslims see as a turning point.
Whether Khan wins or loses, British Muslims see his reaching the status of front-runner in the race as a sign of their growing political clout in the former seat of one of the world’s great empires.
Khan, representing the Labor party, is the son of a bus driver and a seamstress. In a field of 12 candidates, he was in a tight and often bitter race against the other front-runner, Conservative Zac Goldsmith, who is Jewish and the son of a billionaire tycoon.
The Mayor of London position was created only 16 years ago, but is highly influential. The outgoing mayor, popular Conservative Boris Johnson, is seen as a likely contender for prime minister.
Most London voters polled ahead of Thursday’s elections cited housing and transport as the main issues. But analysts say underlying concerns about immigration and demographic change could play out in the poll, which may indicate the outcome of a June 23rd referendum on whether Britain should remain in the European Union.
Proponents of a British exit, or Brexit, cite immigration and the belief that Britain has lost control of its borders as top concerns.
Greek Workers Embark on Strike Over Austerity Measures
Workers in Greece walked off their jobs Friday in protest of new tax and pension reforms being considered by the government that workers say will cut deeply into their incomes. The government's austerity measures are part of a multi-billion-dollar international bailout agreement.
The 48-hour protest came at the behest of the country’s largest public and private sector labor unions, and has shut down various services, including ferries to the island nation, garbage collection and government offices.
Greece’s parliament is set to vote on a bill to overhaul the country’s pension system Sunday night. If the law is passed, Greece will raise its social security contribution requirements, increase the income tax on high-wage earners and set up a new national pension.
The new austerity measures are aimed at persuading international creditors to release additional bailout money.