Q&A: Bristol mayor election 2012

A quick guide to November's election for Bristol's first elected mayor.

What's happening?

Voting in Bristol for an elected mayor will take place on 15 November.

What is an elected mayor?

The elected mayor will lead Bristol City Council and its full range of services.

What will he or she do?

The elected mayor will have allocated to them all the Executive (also known as cabinet) functions and responsibilities. A cabinet of between two and nine councillors would then be appointed and one chosen to be deputy mayor. Together they would be responsible for a range of council services with a turnover of about £1bn a year. They would not have responsibility for non-executive functions such as planning matters. Also, the position has no connection with the city council's neighbouring authorities, such as Bristol and North East Somerset, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire.

When was it decided that Bristol needed an elected mayor?

In May, 41,032 Bristolians voted "yes" to have an elected mayor, whilst 35,880 voted against. That was from a 24% turnout. On the same day nine other English cities voted against having a mayor and Doncaster voted to keep its mayor.

How will the elections on 15 November be run?

Elections will be held in Bristol with all registered voters in the city council boundary entitled to take part. The supplementary vote system will be used, with voters marking the ballot paper with their first and second choice of candidate. If no candidate gets a majority of first preference votes, the top two candidates go on to a second round when second preference votes are allocated to them to produce a winner. This is the system used to elect London's mayor.

Who are the candidates?

Each of the major parties has nominated a candidate to stand in the election - Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats. Other parties being represented are Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts, The Birthday Party, Bristol 1st, Respect and the Greens. There are also seven independent candidates standing.

How much will the mayor be paid?

A decision on how much to pay the elected mayor has been deferred until January. An independent panel has recommended a salary of £65,738, with £41,086 for his or her deputy, but this sum has been fiercely debated by councillors.

Will he or she appoint a team around them?

Yes. A Cabinet of between two and nine councillors will be appointed by the elected Mayor and one would be appointed Deputy Mayor.

When will the elected mayor begin work?

Monday 19 November.

How many other directly-elected mayors are there in the UK?

According to Bristol City Council, there are 16 elected mayors currently in power across England - in Bedford, Doncaster, Hackney, Hartlepool, Leicester, Lewisham, Liverpool, London, Mansfield, Middlesbrough, Newham, North Tyneside, Salford, Torbay, Tower Hamlets and Watford.

How long will the Bristol mayor hold office?

Four years. The mayor cannot be voted out of office by councillors, or removed by voters, during their term of office.

Will Bristol retain its Lord Mayor?

Yes. The two roles are very different as the Lord Mayor has no power to take decisions. The Lord Mayor is chosen annually by full council and is a ceremonial role that is believed to have existed in Bristol since 1216.

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