San Francisco elects first African-American woman as mayor

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Mayor-elect London Breed acknowledges supporters before speaking to reporters outside of City Hall in San Francisco on June 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
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London Breed speaks to reporters outside of City Hall on June 13, 2018 in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Lorin Eleni Gill)
Updated 14 June 2018
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San Francisco elects first African-American woman as mayor

  • Breed will fill the rest of term of Mayor Ed Lee, who died in December. Lee’s term ends in early 2020, and Breed will need to run in November 2019 for a full four-year term.
  • Breed was the favorite of the business and political establishment communities going into the contest.

SAN FRANCISCO, US: San Francisco Supervisor London Breed emerged victorious a week after Election Day to become the city’s first African-American woman elected mayor, narrowly defeating a rival who was seeking to become the first openly gay man in the position.
Former state Sen. Mark Leno called Breed earlier Wednesday to congratulate her on the victory.
The elections office continues to tally roughly 7,000 ballots, but there is no way Leno can make up the difference. On Wednesday, Breed was leading Leno by fewer than 2,200 votes of nearly 250,000 counted and had 50.49 percent of the vote.
In a brief appearance before reporters and cheering supporters on the steps of City Hall on Wednesday, an exuberant Breed said she was humbled, honored and looking forward to serving as mayor.
In particular, she relished the message her election sends to San Francisco’s youth, especially kids like herself who grew up poor.
“No matter where you come from, no matter what you decide to do in life, you can do anything you want to do,” she said. “Never let your circumstances determine your outcome in life.”
Breed vowed to be mayor for all of San Francisco, a message she repeated throughout her bid to lead a city that is economically thriving but mired in homelessness, congestion and unaffordable homes. She has vowed to rid the sidewalks of homeless tent camps within a year of taking office.
Turnout exceeded 50 percent— unusually high for recent mayoral elections— in a contest that was placed on the June 5 ballot after the unexpected death of Mayor Ed Lee in December.
Breed will fill the rest of Lee’s term, which ends in early 2020, and will need to run in November 2019 for a full four-year term.
Breed consistently maintained her lead in first-place votes, but San Francisco uses a unique ranked-choice voting system that allows voters to pick their top three for mayor.
Leno and Supervisor Jane Kim asked their supporters to pick the other as their No.2, saying that Breed represented the status quo that had made San Francisco so inequitable. All three are Democrats.
Breed was the favorite of the business and political establishment communities going into the contest. She raised the most money of the candidates with the help of contributions from big backers.
Earlier in the day, Leno told reporters crammed into his tiny print shop that he had a positive conversation with Breed and that “she is going to do a very fine job. Her success is San Francisco’s success.”
Leno, 66, did not rule out a future run for office and thanked voters for exceeding low turnout expectations.
“This was a campaign about change, a campaign about the betterment of the great city of San Francisco,” he said.
The portrayals of her as a lackey of big business bugged Breed, who first won a supervisor’s seat in 2012.
“I ask people to not attribute what I’ve done — my success and how hard I’ve worked— to not reduce that or attribute that to someone else,” Breed told the AP in a pre-election interview.
The former executive director of the African American Art & Culture Complex grew up in the historically black Western Addition, raised by her grandmother in public housing. They drank powdered milk and ate meat from a can labeled “pork,” she said.
At City Hall, she paid homage to her late grandmother and said she probably had a hand in her win.
“She took care of the community, she took care of me even on days when I didn’t deserve it, and so being here in her honor means so much,” she said.


Usman Buzdar becomes Punjab chief minister

Updated 19 August 2018
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Usman Buzdar becomes Punjab chief minister

  • PTI candidate bags 186 votes while PML-N secures 159
  • Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) was in power in Punjab for past 10 years

LAHORE: Ending the decade-long dominance of the Sharif family, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) nominee, Sardar Usman Buzdar, has been elected chief minister of Punjab, the biggest province in the country.

In the election on Sunday in the Punjab Assembly, Usman Buzdar secured 186 votes — the minimum required number to become the leader of the House consisting of 371 members.

His rival, Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, son of former three-time Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif, could bag only 159 votes.

The seven members of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) abstained from the process.

The PML-Q legislators and Rah-e-Haq party members also voted for the PTI candidate.

The win of the PTI nominee, Sardar Usman Buzdar, has ended the 30-year supremacy of the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) in the political realm of the province.

The PML-N ruled the province from 1988 to 1990 when the elder Sharif, Mian Nawaz Sharif, served as the chief minister and gave a tough time to his political rival, the late Benazir Bhutto, who was then prime minister.

The PML-N then formed the government in the province in 1993 and Ghulam Hyder Wyne was the party nominee for the slot of chief minister.

The PML-N again gained power in 1997 and the younger Sharif, Mian Shahbaz Sharif, became chief minister of the province.

The ruled continued until the bloodless coup of Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

During Gen. Musharraf’s regime, Chaudhary Pervaiz Elahi served as the chief minister from 2002 to 2007.

PML-N regained its glory in the 2008 elections and Mian Shahbaz Sharif became the chief minister. The rule continued for two consecutive terms (2008-20013 and 2013-18) — 10 years.

In the 2018 election, though, the PML-N emerged as the single largest party in the province by securing 129 seats but the number was not enough to form the government and on Sunday PTI candidate Buzdar ended their supremacy in Punjab politics.

The Punjab chief minister-elect, Usman Buzdar, comes from the downtrodden area of South Punjab and holds a master’s degree in political science and a law degree from the Bahauddin Zakaria University, Multan.

His father, Sardar Fateh Mohammed Buzdar, was a member of General Ziaul Haq’s cabinet known as “Majlis-e-Shoora” in 1983 and was elected MPA as an independent candidate in 1985.

He again won the provincial assembly seat in the 2002 and 2008 elections.

In 2013, son Usman Buzdar replaced father, Fateh Mohammed Buzdar, to contest a provincial assembly seat as a PML-N candidate and lost.

Buzdar, however, served as the Nazim of Tribal Area Tehsil of Dera Ghazi Khan district for two terms in Gen. Musharraf’s era.

His career was tarnished with corruption and he was charged as a reference containing allegations of making ghost appointments was made against him.

However, Buzdar’s brother says the National Accountability Bureau cleared him from all charges after investigations.

During the 1998 local government elections, in a bloody clash between two political rival groups, one of them led by Buzdar family, six people were killed.

Father and son (Fateh Mohammed Buzdar and Usman Buzdar) were not present on the scene but the opponents nominated them in the police report on the allegations of abetment.

They were exonerated in the police Investigations but their opponents did not accept it.

Following the tribal traditions, a jirga (tribal council) levied a fine of 6.5 million Pakistani rupees ($52,700) on the Buzdar clan and the money was paid to their rivals by the Buzdars.

The PTI ranks criticized the nomination of Buzdar but party chairman Imran Khan himself defended him, saying that the chosen chief minister for Punjab comes from one of the most underdeveloped areas of the province, where people had neither clean drinking water nor an uninterrupted supply of electricity.

Khan said in his video message that Buzdar was the only parliamentarian “whose home had no electricity,” and the PTI chief hoped he would work honestly and implement his party’s vision.

Buzdar was a member of the Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-e-Azam), a party led by Chaudhary Shujaat Hussain, before joining the PML-N in 2013.

He left the PML-N in May 2018 and became a part of Sooba Janobi Punjab Mohaz (South Punjab Province Front).

The whole group later merged in the PTI and Buzdar became a player of Imran Khan and won PP-286 (DG Khan) with more than 26,000 votes on a PTI ticket.

Soon after the announcement of his success, the PML-N legislators, wearing black armbands, chanted slogans against him — “Killer chief minister unacceptable and give respect to vote.”

The protest continued for 20 minutes.

The chief minister-elect, in his maiden address in the assembly, said his only merit is that he belongs to the most deprived area of the province and he vowed to carry forward the mission of Imran Khan and Quaid-e-Azam.

“My priority is to break the status quo, elimination of corruption, strengthening of institutions and local bodies and evolve the good governance,” Buzdar said.

Speaking on the occasion, Hamza Shahbaz, who lost the election, said that the mandate of the people had been stolen in the July 25 elections.

“We are here with heavy hearts and becoming part of the process only because we want the process of democracy to continue,” Hamza said.

He demanded a parliamentary commission to probe the irregularities of the electoral process and submit its recommendations in 30 days.