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Call for mayor vote on same day as EU poll.

Byline: Ruth Mosalski Local government reporter ruth.mosalski@walesonline.co.uk

CAMPAIGNERS calling for an elected mayor for Cardiff are pushing for a vote to be held on June 23 - the same day as the EU referendum.

Supporters of the move began collecting signatures last month, hoping to force a referendum about whether the city should have an elected mayor.

A cross-party group of campaigners say it would make the city's head more accountable.

While the city currently has a cabinet and leader, an elected mayor would be more answerable to residents, they claim.

The first stage of appointing an elected mayor is securing enough votes to hold a referendum on whether there should be a mayor.

If the first vote succeeds, a second vote then follows - to choose a mayor.

To get a referendum the campaigners need to gather more than 24,000 signatures - 10% of the city's electorate. They then have to be verified before any vote takes place.

But the campaigners have now called on Cardiff council to waive the need for the signatures and take a second option open to local authorities - simply declaring a referendum.

They say by holding it on the day of the EU referendum - June 23 - it would reduce the cost.

The Echo revealed last week that the cost of the last general election to Cardiff council was more than PS570,000.

It is expected that any mayoral referendum would result in a similar level of cost.

But campaigners say by allowing the referendum on June 23 it would save taxpayers money and result in a higher turnout.

A spokeswoman said: "We have had a strong start and are well on our way to achieving the target. Most doors we knock are signing the petition. We now have petitions with businesses and volunteers across the city. The real challenge will be one of logistics since the establishment has blocked the use of e-petitions.

"Many people we talk to are signing the petition because they believe the debate should be held even if they don't agree with a directly elected mayor.

"The council should save residents' time and money by allowing this debate to take place on June 23."

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 10, 2016
Words:366
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