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Wednesday, 26 September, 2001, 05:13 GMT 06:13 UK
Bloomberg wins NYC Republican race
Media magnate and Republican candidate for New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg
Mr Bloomberg spent $20m on his campaign
Republican New Yorkers have elected media magnate Michael Bloomberg to run in the city's mayoral elections on 6 November, according to primary election exit polls.

The race in Democratic primaries was too close to call and it appeared Tuesday night that the two leading candidates, Mark Green and Fernando Ferrer, were headed for a run-off.

Democratic candidate Mark Green
Democratic candidate Mark Green got 34% of the primary vote
Voting in the primary elections began on 11 September, but was halted just hours after two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center's twin towers, leaving thousands dead when the buildings collapsed.

The popularity of incumbent mayor Rudolph Giuliani soared as he led his city through the crisis, and there have been widespread calls for him to stay on, despite laws barring him from seeking a third consecutive term.

Clear win

According to the exit polls, Mr Bloomberg defeated former US Congressman Herman Badillo in the primary elections by 66% to 34%.

New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani
Mr Giuliani's popularity has soared
Among the Democrats, exit polls showed none of the four candidates won the required 40% of votes, forcing a run-off on 11 October between the two leading candidates.

Mr Green, the city's consumer watchdog, won 34% of the vote, and Mr Ferrer, the Hispanic mayor of the Bronx borough, received 32% of the votes, according to exit polls.

"This city is at a crossroads," Mr Bloomberg told his supporters on Tuesday night.

"We weathered the crisis and now we face the rebuilding, an enterprise no city has ever dealt with before."

The billionaire political novice has reportedly spent more than $20m on his campaign.

The primaries' official results are not expected until the weekend, after absentee ballots and write-in ballots are counted.

In demand

Some voters have written in Mr Giuliani's name on the ballot paper next to the six official candidates, despite explicit advice from their mayor not to do so.

A poll cited by the Reuters news agency, and published on Tuesday, reveals that over 50% of New Yorkers want Mr Giuliani to be the mayor who leads his city through a major rebuilding operation.

For him to stay on, the Republican Governor of New York State, George Pataki, would have to introduce emergency legislation to extend Mr Giuliani's term, or the City Council would have to amend the city charter to allow further terms.

But even some of the voters who admire Mr Giuliani's handling of the city's crisis say the democratic process should be upheld and a new mayor elected.

Political analysts say that even if Mr Giuliani does not stay on as mayor, his prospects look good to run for governor.

"It means that, whether he runs for governor in two years or governor in six years, his options will be enormous," US analyst Phil Friedman told the BBC.

"More than that, it means that he will become an international as well as a national leader and he'll be in demand as a speaker and as a leader around the world."

See also:

24 Sep 01 | Americas
New York honours the dead
23 Sep 01 | Americas
In pictures: A Prayer for America
20 Sep 01 | Americas
Manhattan's new homeless
16 Sep 01 | Americas
Nation united in grief
13 Sep 01 | Education
City schools re-open with counselling
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