Sadiq Khan, son of Pakistani Bus Driver all set to clinch London Mayor slot

LONDON, May  1, (APP): Londoners choose their new mayor on Thursday after a straight fight between rival candidates Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan dominated by negative campaigning.

In the contest to replace the charismatic Boris Johnson in charge of the British capital, polls put Labour candidate Khan comfortably ahead of his Conservative rival as they enter the final straight.

The two main contenders are cut from different cloth.

Environmentalist Goldsmith, 41, represents west London's affluent Richmond Park in parliament. He is a son of the late tycoon financier James Goldsmith, who left #1.2 billion ($1.75 billion, 1.5 billion euros) in trust for his family.

Khan, 45, meanwhile, is the son of a Pakistani immigrant bus driver who grew up to be a human rights lawyer and government minister.

He is the MP for Tooting in south London, where he was born and raised, and which has a large population with Asian roots.

"Sadiq is on course for victory, built on his party's core vote, while Zac Goldsmith is left with a mountain to climb," said Laurence Janta-Lipinski from pollsters YouGov.

The latest survey puts Khan on 49 percent support and Goldsmith on 34 percent. Of the 12 candidates, second preference votes for the top two are added on to determine the winner.

Survation polled 1,010 adults by telephone between April 21 and 25.

If Khan wins, he will become the first Muslim mayor of London or of any major European capital -- a fact not lost on Goldsmith's campaign as he plays catch-up.