Eric Adams elected mayor of New York City

Centrist Democrat fought racial discrimination within the force

New York City's next mayor Eric Adams at his election night party in Brooklyn. Reuters
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Former police officer Eric Adams has been elected mayor of New York City.

Mr Adams, who fought racial discrimination within the force, will in January become the city's second black mayor. He vowed to make New York's post-coronavirus economic recovery his main focus.

New York has been heavily affected by the pandemic as thousands of businesses closed and more than 34,000 residents were killed by the coronavirus.

Early in the pandemic, the city had some of the highest infection and death rates in the US.

Mr Adams's win caps a remarkable rise from his beginnings in poverty, which included running errands for a gang as a teenager before a beating by police officers spurred his determination to join the force and reform it from the inside.

“Tonight, I have accomplished my dream and, with all my heart, I am going to remove the barriers that are preventing you from accomplishing yours,” the centrist Democrat told cheering supporters at his victory party in Brooklyn.

Mr Adams, 61, had been the overwhelming favourite to defeat Republican rival and volunteer crime fighter Curtis Sliwa. New York is heavily liberal, with registered Democrats outnumbering Republicans by seven to one.

US TV networks including NBC and CBS called the race shortly after polls closed at 9pm eastern time

Early unofficial results released by New York City's Board of Elections suggested that Mr Adams would win more than 70 per cent of the votes and Mr Sliwa, 67, a right-wing radio host and founder of the Guardian Angels crime prevention group, quickly conceded.

Being New York's mayor is often described as the most difficult job in the US after that of being president.

Mr Adams, who credits veganism with reversing his 2016 diabetes diagnosis, will succeed highly unpopular Bill de Blasio, whose second and last term ends on December 31.

As mayor for more than eight million people, he will oversee America's largest municipal budget, its biggest police force and public school system.

The moderate defeated progressive rivals in June's Democratic primary by pledging to crack down on violent crime that increased steeply during the pandemic.

He promised to tackle wealth inequalities and reform the education system, as well.

Mr Adams will also have to deal with a severe lack of cheap housing, the effects of more extreme weather events on New York's creaking infrastructure and violent chaos at the notorious Rikers Island prison.

“If you do not educate you, will incarcerate and we do not want to incarcerate our young people,” he said in his victory speech.

Updated: November 03, 2021, 4:40 AM