Livingstone trailing in London mayoral election, exit poll shows

(JTA) — Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who stirred controversy with remarks called anti-Semitic by the city’s Jewish leaders, was trailing in a bid to reclaim his post, an exit poll showed.

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Incumbent Boris Johnson, Livingstone’s successor, had 53 percent of Thursday’s vote to 47 percent for Livingstone in the hotly contested race, according to the YouGov poll for London’s Evening Standard.

In the 2008 election, the Tory Party’s Johnson took  42.4 percent of the vote to 36.4 for the Labor Party’s Livingstone.

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.

 

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