Man once dismissed for election bribery wins mayoralty

Tower Hamlets, London, voted for Mohammad Lutfur Rahman – removed from office for “corrupt and illegal practices” in a 2014 election – as mayor.

“The people of the borough rendered a verdict today. I was at the people’s court and they said in a loud voice that they want Lutfur Rahman and his team to serve them for the next four years,” the Bangladeshi-born politician sang after the local elections on Thursday. across England.

Rahman became Britain’s first directly elected Muslim executive mayor in the ultra-diverse Tower Hamlets in 2010, amid allegations of inappropriate links to the radical Islamic Forum of Europe group and irregularities in his selection in as a Labor Party candidate (which was eventually overruled, forcing him to stand as an independent).

He was re-elected in 2014 but removed from office after four voters brought allegations of ‘corrupt and illegal practices’ against him under the Representation of the People Act – the electoral commission and the police had not acted on concerns about the election – and the courts ruled in their favour.

Judge Richard Mawrey QC ruled that Rahman’s agents had “engaged in impersonation, false recording, double voting, [and] tampering with ballot papers,” used public resources for “obvious election campaigning” and exerted “undue spiritual influence” on Muslim voters, in part through allied Muslim clerics telling them he was “of the duty of the Muslim faithful to vote for Mr. Rahman”.

Mawrey also discovered that he had used his office for corrupt purposes, funneling funds to Bangladeshi media, for example, and Bangladeshi and Muslim organizations which in some cases had not even applied for grants.

Although his 2014 election was overturned, however, Mr Rahman was again elected mayor of Tower Hamlets after a five-year ban on him from standing for office had expired.

“I want to rebuild Tower Hamlets, I want to invest in our future and give our people a better future than we have had for the past seven years,” he said.

“Lutfur Rahman’s re-election in Tower Hamlets shows us why we need political reform,” Brexit leader Nigel Farage commented on his return to politics.

“End mail-in voting now and start over,” he added – with mail-in votes considered in the ruling on Rahman’s 2014 election, with the judge describing evidence that “painted a pattern of mail-in voters having been asked by Mr. Rahman’s supporters to cast off their mail-in ballots” in his ruling.

“[In] the 21st century… a combination of extremely lax voter registration rules and the introduction of on-demand mail-in voting have made personification [the false impersonation of voters] viable again” in the UK election, the judge lamented elsewhere in the judgment.

The UK postal voting system has not been significantly changed during recent electoral reforms which have made voter identification mandatory.

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