Mahdi Alam, 16-years-old, has been named Young Mayor for Tower Hamlets, as a record 59 per cent of local young people cast a vote.
The result was announced by Stephen Halsey, head of paid services for the council, in a ceremony at the town hall on January 31. An inauguration will be held later this month.
Mahdi thanked his parents and campaign team for their support, saying: “This has been an amazing experience and I am looking forward to working with the new team to champion the voice of young people to make Tower Hamlets an even better place to live.”
The sixth Young Mayor in Tower Hamlets, he will hold the post for two years and will be assisted by his two 17-year-old deputies, Sonia Begum and Tanvir Raza.
The elections were organised by the Youth and Community Services in Tower Hamlets and attracted a number of candidates from schools and colleges across the borough, with participants shortlisted to 16 candidates.
The scheme began in Tower Hamlets in 2006 and aims at promoting a healthy understanding of and participation in democratic processes amongst young people. Since 2006, there has been a steady increase in voter numbers, with a record turnout of 59 per cent this year.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman said afterwards: “This has been a phenomenal young mayor election and I have been impressed with the exceptional candidates who put themselves forward.
“The high turnout is testament to how successful the Young Mayor scheme has been in the borough in engaging young people with politics and local democracy.”
Mahdi was presented with the chain of office by the retiring Young Mayor Nahimul Islam. Islam and his deputies Tasmina Khanum and Nadeem Miah spoke about their achievements and efforts over the past two years.
These included working on an anti-knife crime campaign; staging a community event; revamping AMP.uk.net, the council’s website aimed at young people; creating an apprenticeship scheme and launching the Young Mayor’s inter-youth club competition. They also praised the youth workers who had supported them during their term.