Q&A: Mayoral election
A guide to the role of Mayor of London, how the Mayor is elected and who is eligible to vote on May 1st.
What are the responsibilities of London's mayor?
The role is described as being one which promotes "economic development and wealth creation, social development and the improvement of the environment" in the UK's capital. The mayor has responsibility for policies regarding London's transport, planning and development, culture and the environment. He or she also sets the budgets for the Greater London Authority, the Metropolitan Police force and London Fire Brigade, Transport for London and the London Development Agency.
How long has the role of mayor existed?
The first mayoral election was held in May 2000. It was won by Ken Livingstone, who stood as an independent candidate, having been exiled by Labour. By the time the next poll took place, four years later, Mr Livingstone had been welcomed back by the party and won the election as a Labour mayor.
Is there a limit on the time a mayor can serve?
Not at present. Last year an attempt was made to curtail the position to two four-year terms. Opposition peers in the House of Lords wanted to amend the Greater London Authority Bill so nobody could be mayor for more than eight years. However, MPs in the House of Commons rejected the amendment.
When is the next election for mayor?
Thursday, 1 May.
What is happening on that day?
Polling stations will be open across London until 2200 BST for the election not just of the mayor but also of the 25 members of the London Assembly. Registered voters will be given a ballot paper offering the chance to pick a first-choice and a second-choice mayor. They do not have to select a second-choice candidate but if they do, this vote will count towards the complicated process of elimination which will be used during the count.
If one candidate has secured an outright majority of more than 50% of the first-choice votes, they are automatically declared to be mayor. If this does not happen, the two candidates with the most first-choice votes will be announced (let's call them A and B) and the others will be eliminated. The ballot papers of the eliminated hopefuls will be re-examined and if there are any votes for candidates A and B, these will be added to their totals.
Whoever has the most votes between candidates A and B is declared mayor. If the results are tied at this stage then the Greater London Returning Officer draws lots.
Who is running for mayor?
Who can vote?
Residents of London's 32 boroughs - plus the City of London - are eligible to vote, as long as they are on the electoral register.
How do I register to vote?
Anybody who is not already on the electoral roll can ask to be added. However, you must be 18 or older, live in London and be a British, Commonwealth or EU citizen. It is important to note that the deadline for registration is 16 April. Applications should be made through the London council which covers the potential voter's home address.
When will the results be known?
Polling stations across London will shut at 2200 BST on 1 May and ballot papers will be "securely stored" at counting centres at Alexandra Palace in Wood Green, the Excel conference centre in Docklands and the Olympia hall in Kensington. Electronic counting will begin at 0830am on Friday, 2 May, and it is likely to take about 12 hours to complete. The winner of the mayoral contest, and the results of London Assembly seats, will be announced that evening.
last updated: 20/05/2008 at 15:37