US & Canada

Rahm Emanuel elected next mayor of Chicago

Rahm Emanuel heads to vote
Image caption Mr Emanuel trumped five rivals by gaining 55% of the vote and avoiding a runoff

Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has been elected mayor of Chicago in the most competitive city hall election in more than two decades.

Mr Emanuel, who is also a former congressman, trumped five rivals with 55% of the vote and avoided a run-off, with 86% of the precincts reporting.

He will now replace Mayor Richard Daley, who has been in office since 1989 and is stepping down.

Mr Emanuel needed 50% of the vote to win outright on Tuesday evening.

President Barack Obama sent his congratulations to his former chief of staff, saying the victory was well-deserved.

"As a Chicagoan and a friend, I couldn't be prouder. Rahm will be a terrific mayor for all the people of Chicago," said the president.

Other candidates vying for the mayor's seat included former Senator Carol Moseley-Braun, City Clerk Miguel del Valle and longtime city official Gery Chico.

Mr Chico received 24% of the vote, while Mr del Valle and Ms Braun each had 9%. Two other candidates each received about 1%.

Mr Chico and Ms Braun quickly conceded to Mr Emanuel.

Unique race

The race was the first Chicago mayoral race in more than 20 years without Mr Daley listed among the candidates and the first race in over 60 years without an incumbent on the ballot.

Mr Emanuel, who will become the city's first Jewish mayor, will replace Richard Daley, who was first elected in 1989. His father, also called Richard Daley, was mayor from 1955 until his death in 1976.

The Daleys have led Chicago for more than 43 of the last 56 years.

"I think Daley's done a lot of good things, but at the same time I just feel like the city right now, it's kind of like a good old boy's club," Mark Arnold, 23, told the Associated Press prior to Mr Emanuel's win.

Katie Klabusich, 31, told the Chicago Tribune newspaper she had previously backed Mr Daley, "but sometimes that was for lack of option. The choice today was about who was most equipped."

Mr Emanuel, who left the White House in October and returned to Chicago to run for mayor, considerably outspent his opponents but had to spend considerable time re-introducing himself to voters after years in Washington, analysts say.

He survived a challenge to his residency last month after opponents charged his time in Washington serving as President Barack Obama's chief of staff disqualified him from running for Chicago mayor.

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