New York: Indian-American Suja Lowenthal has won the city council election for Long Beach in Los Angeles.

"There were 11 candidates in the race, and I have won with 38 per cent of the votes cast," she told UNI by telephone on Saturday night. "I will be sworn in on June 27."

Unexpected resignation

The election was called following the unexpected resignation of a councilman in February.

Ms. Lowenthal, who was born in Chennai, will first complete the remaining two years of the council term and then seek re-election in April 2008. Long Beach, home to half a million residents, is part of Los Angeles County. She will focus on infrastructure and environmental issuesduring her term of office.

"Lifelong Democrat"

The election, held on June 6, was conducted on a non-partisan basis, though Ms. Lowenthal acknowledged that she is a "lifelong Democrat."

"I urge Indians and other South Asians in America to become part of the political process," she said.

Born as Sujatha Joseph into a Keralite Christian family in Chennai, she arrived in the United States when she was seven. She is married to Daniel Lowenthal, a Jew guy from New York.

Ms. Lowenthal earned her bachelor's degree in economics from University of California at Los Angeles and master's in Business Administration from California State University.