Ed Miliband defeats brother to lead Britain′s Labour Party | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 25.09.2010
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Ed Miliband defeats brother to lead Britain's Labour Party

After a neck-and-neck election, Britain's opposition Labour Party has chosen Ed Miliband to replace Gordon Brown as party chief. The 40-year-old former energy minister beat out his older brother, David Miliband.

Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband made a name for himself as climate change minister

Britain's opposition Labour Party elected former energy and climate change minister Ed Miliband as its new leader on Saturday, after a knife-edge race to replace former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Miliband was elected by a ballot of legislators, party activists and about 3.5 million labor union members, narrowly defeating his older brother David Miliband, a former foreign secretary.

After a five-month race, Ed Miliband secured Labour's leadership with 50.65 percent of the vote. David Miliband, who led the contest up until the final days, finished at a narrow second with 49.35 percent.

Ed Miliband's last-minute surge in popularity has been attributed to a campaign that appealed to Labour's traditional left-wing supporters.

A new generation takes charge

In his victory speech, Ed Miliband vowed to unify the party.

"The Labour Party in the future must be a vehicle that doesn't just attract thousands of young people but tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of young people who see us as their voice in British politics today," he said.

"Today a new generation has taken charge of Labour, a new generation that understands the call of change," he said.

Brown resigned as the center-left party's leader after losing the May election in which a conservative-led coalition removed Labour from office, ending 13 years in power.

Ed and David Miliband

Ed Miliband, right, narrowly overcame his brother David, left, in the final days of the election.

Miliband paid tribute to the former prime minister, saying he was "proud of the leadership of both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown" but that Labour had "lost the election, and we lost it badly."

"My message to the country is this," he said: "I know we lost trust. I know we lost touch. I know we need to change."

Challenges ahead

One of the biggest challenges facing Milibrand will be to sort out his position on conservative Prime Minister David Cameron's planned austerity measures, the details of which are due in a comprehensive spending review on October 20.

Miliband also faces a tough choice of how to respond to possible mass strikes against the spending cuts, any stance on which could prove divisive.

Miliband will face his first test as Labour chief this Sunday, as the party begins a five-day meeting in Manchester to discuss its role in Britain's new political landscape.

Author: David Levitz (AFP/AP/dpa/Reuters)

Editor: Sonia Phalnikar

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