London Mayor Boris Johnson narrowly won reelection on Friday, defeating ex-Mayor Ken Livingstone, who stirred controversy with remarks called anti-Semitic by the city’s Jewish leaders.
Johnson, a Conservative, got 51.5% of the vote compared to 48.5% for Labour Party stalwart Livingstone, the Guardian reported.
In the 2008 election, the Johnson won by a slightly bigger margin.
Johnson outpolled Livingstone by about 80,000 votes out of about 2 million cast. His margin narrowed slightly when the second choices of those who voted for other candidates were added to the main rivals’ totals, per London’s complicated electoral system.
The win was a rare piece of good news for the Tories as Labour swept to a massive victory in nationwide local elections.
London Jewish leaders said Livingstone in a March meeting made remarks that they called nearly “classic anti-Semitism.” Livingstone said that the Jewish community would not vote for him because “the Jewish community is rich.” The Jewish leaders also said that Livingstone had used the words Zionist, Jewish and Israeli interchangeably and “in a pejorative manner.”
Livingstone apologized for the statements and called on the Jewish community to “move on from the ‘Ken and the Jews dramas.’ “
The meeting was held to discuss Livingstone’s support of radical Muslim cleric Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi and his accepting money from Iranian state broadcaster Press TV. Livingstone has been a frequent critic of Israel.