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Thursday, April 17, 2014

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Johnson defeats Livingstone’s challenge

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Boris Johnson

LONDON — Former London mayor Ken Livingstone, who stirred controversy with remarks called antisemitic by the city's Jewish leaders, lost his bid to reclaim his post.

Incumbent Boris Johnson, Livingstone's successor, won the tight mayoral race in London, according to results announced late last Friday.

Johnson, of the conservative Tory Party, garnered 51.5 per cent of the vote compared to 48.5 per cent for Livingstone of the Labor Party.

Upon conceding the race, Livingstone reportedly said that this would be his last election.

London Jewish leaders said Livingstone, in a March meeting, made remarks that they called nearly "classic antisemitism." 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.

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