Youtuber Running for Office of London mayor

On the 3rd of March 2021, the British parliament decided to hold an election for the position of London mayor. A popular Youtuber, Niko Omilana, who has over 3 million subscribers, decided to run as an independent candidate for mayor on a whim and to everyone’s surprise, became the first choice for London’s City Hall.

After the first poll on April the 13th, 15% of Londoners said that he was their first choice, according to an ITV London News poll. The 23-year-old often posts videos of his pranks on his YouTube channel and is the second most popular candidate after Mr Khan (the previous mayor trying to secure a second term) among the 18-24 age group, where 19% say they are prepared to give Mr. Omilana their vote.

One of the main reasons why 12% of Londoners aged 25 to 34 said that they would support Mr Omilana, was because of his main policy to force Boris Johnson to “shush” and many of them find this comment comedic and very relatable, opting to vote for him based solely because of his trending youtube video which has gathered 3.9 million views as of the time of writing (22/04/21).

Niko explained that he was running for mayor because politicians failed to “take young people seriously”. Similarly, many influencers, like Niko, are using their followers and popularity to gain an edge during a candidacy regarding a political position. Niko proclaimed that: “There is no greater leader in the country than Niko for Mayor of London on May 6 or your breath stinks.” which furthers the country's concern over his legitimacy as a leader.

One of these influencers is Kanye West where he ran for the president of the United States and managed to get 10% of the total votes mostly due to his influence.

Multiple critics stated that Influencers can pose a threat to campaign transparency, accountability, and informational quality as their political posts do not qualify for the stricter rules imposed by Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter on political advertising as the apps will receive backlash from their fans.

Only time would tell if these “Influencers” advantage actually matters as the very first poll carried out between April 13 and 19, suggests Mr Khan will comfortably win a second term, securing 61 % of the vote. The final elections will be held on may 4th 2021to decide who becomes the new mayor of london so many are waiting with anticipation.


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