Rahm Emanuel's political career is over
Mayoral election: Lori Lightfoot becomes the first African American woman to rule Chicago
For the first time in the history of the city of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, an African American woman, has been elected mayor. The democrat prevailed in a runoff election against her black party friend Toni Preckwinkle. According to initial estimates, Lightfoot received around 74 percent of the vote. The 56-year-old lawyer is also the first openly gay politician to be elected to the top of the third largest city in the United States.
"Now that it's over, I know that we will work together for the city we both love," said Lightfoot, celebrating her success late in the evening. Lightfoot and Preckwinkle both belong to the left wing of their party. They had surprisingly prevailed against twelve competitors in the first round of elections in February, most of whom were representatives of the political establishment. Chicago has had only one woman mayor and one black man since 1837.
"People hope something else comes up," said Lightfood. "It is overwhelming to be a bearer of hope for this." The long-time federal prosecutor wants to curb gun violence and corruption in the city of 2.7 million people. At the same time, she campaigns for better living conditions in the predominantly black neighborhoods in the south and west of the city.
Incumbent Rahm Emanuel, former chief of staff of ex-President Barack Obama, had renounced a third candidacy. Emanuel had been accused of making wrong decisions in the fight against crime and nepotism. Corruption is one of the major local political issues in Chicago, alongside gang violence and unequal living conditions for blacks and whites.
Outsider role in the election campaign
While Preckwinkle already held a number of political offices, Lightfood had deliberately denied her election campaign as an outsider. Preckwinkle was seen as a representative of the establishment - which may damage her election result. The newly elected Mayoress Lori Lightfoot was also elected by the Chicago Tribune who spoke out for her as mayor.
The message of the election is clear, said political scientist Evan McKenzie of the AFP news agency. Voters wanted "new ideas and a cleaner government". In no other major city in the United States do so many people fall victim to gun violence as in Chicago. In the past year alone, more than 550 people were murdered in the city - more than in New York and Los Angeles combined.
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