An Azerbaijani Candidate for London Mayor
Kam Balayev ponders his chances as the London mayoral election approaches. (Used with permission)
On May 6th 2021 the UK sees a selection of local and regional elections. Highest profile of these is for the position of London mayor, the race for which sees a record-breaking field of 20 candidates. Amongst those standing against Labour Party incumbent, Sadiq Khan, is 39-year old business consultant Kam (Kamran) Balayev. An Anglo-Azerbaijani, Kam was born in Baku where he worked for the ministry of justice, before coming to the UK as a student and graduating from Cambridge University in Criminal Justice. He later took various security policy roles working with international organisations including Interpol and the UN.
Given his background it is not surprising that one of the main points he has raised in his mayoral campaign is what he describes as London crime problem, noting that the Metropolitan Police now has only 36 police stations – having sold off 106 others, in part to cover budgetary pressures. While a strong law-and-order platform is often associated with more right wing campaigns, Kam is in fact representing the centrist, pro-Europe Renew Party which was founded with a reformist agenda in the wake of the 2016 Brexit referendum.
Balayev’s other high profile manifesto suggestions are to revive London’s role as a sporting hub, to provide more youth clubs, to re-think transportation and to act as a catalyst for working more effectively with big, international tech companies.
The other 19 contenders include Tory candidate Shaun Bailey who, in a March webinar, appealed to fans of the Caspian region by suggesting that, if he won, he’d be keen to boost the celebration of Novruz (the March 21st Persian/Eurasian new year celebration) in London, whether in Trafalgar Square or around County Hall.