ANKSTOWN Mayor Khal Asfour has his political ambitions in reach after State Labor MP for Lakemba, Robert Furolo’s decision not to contest next year’s election.
Mr Furolo’s announcement opens a door for Councillor Asfour.
Following months of rumours that the sitting Lakemba MP was considering his future, Councillor Asfour made his intentions clear earlier this month, saying he would seek preselection if Mr Furolo did not.
Earlier this month Mr Furolo told the Torch he would decide his future when Sussex Street announced whether or not to allow a rank and file vote for Lakemba.
Mr Furolo, who wanted local branch members to choose, feared a Sussex Street “back-room deal” to impose a candidate in Lakemba. Although Sussex Street has officially made no decision, factional pressure seems to have decided the sitting member’s fate.
Besides Cr Asfour, Canterbury Councillor Karl Saleh and Punchbowl school principal Jihad Dib have all shown an interest in contesting Lakemba for the ALP.
There is still another hurdle for Cr Asfour’s political ambitions though, with the Lakemba ALP branch – which have also called for rank and file pre-selection – endorsing Cr Saleh as the preferred candidate.
“If there’s one thing that is clear, it’s that branch members want to choose their candidate,” Cr Asfour said. “I will be nominating. I’ve been encouraged from the strong support I’ve received in the branch.”
Meanwhile Mr Furolo said his decision to resign reflected a desire to explore new challenges beyond the confines of the current political environment.