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City Mayors reports political events, analyses the issues and depicts the main players in urban and local government politics

Mayors in Europe
Powers & Politics

August 2019: A plethora of city leadership models exist across Europe, depending on history and political culture, though the challenges facing urban areas are mostly identical. While in France, Spain, Greece and Portugal the mayor is head of the party list on the council, in Luxembourg and the Netherlands mayors are appointed by the central government for a six-year term. In Germany, mayors are directly elected, as are all metro mayors in England. In many European countries mayors enjoy considerable powers and their responsibilities cover a wide array of day-to-day activities as well as longterm projects such as health, education, policing, environment and culture. 2019 EDITION

Mayors running for US President:
Their accomplishments & policies

May 2019:
Among the 24 candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for President of the United States are seven serving and former mayors. The three serving mayors are New York City’s Bill De Blasio, South Bend’s Pete Buttigieg and Miramar’s Wayne Messam. The list of former mayors includes Cory Booker (Newark), Julian Castro (San Antonio), John Hickenlooper (Denver) and Bernie Sanders (Burlington). Should one of the seven candidates succeed all the way to the White House, he would only be the fourth mayor to do so in the country’s history. It has been more than 100 years since the political career of a US President included a stint as mayor. The last mayor whose career path took him to the White House was Calvin Coolidge who, prior to serving as Governor of Massachusetts and US President was Mayor of Northampton (MA). Of all 45 American Presidents only three were ever mayors before occupying the highest office in the country. MORE

Corrupt US mayors pose a
threat to decency in society

April 2019: The preamble to the City Mayors’ Code of Ethics states that honest local government is the foundation of any nation that strives to provide its citizens with happiness, security and prosperity. It continues to say that corruption and misconduct by local government officials threaten fundamental decency in a society. America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which warns that public corruption poses a fundamental threat to national security and the US way of life, has over the past four decades brought to justice hundreds of elected officials, who used their positions to enrich themselves. REPORT AND LIST OF CONVICTED MAYORS

Prominent opposition mayors undeterred
by Venezuelan government crack down

1 August 2017: Following the controversial referendum for a national constitutional assembly, Venezuela’s security forces re-arrested two of the country’s most prominent opposition leaders. Antonio Ledezma and Leopoldo Lopez, both former mayors in Caracas and World Mayor finalists, were taken from their homes to the Ramo Verde military prison. The arrests came after some of the mayors of Venezuela’s largest cities voiced their opposition to the government of President Nicolas Maduro and its plans to re-write the country’s constitution. Earlier this year, the mayors of Iribarren and Lecheria were removed from office and convicted to prison sentences for allegedly supporting anti-government protests. Since 2013, eight mayors from the opposition party Democratic Unity Roundtable (Mesa de la Unidad Democrática) were removed from office for political reasons. MORE

International comparison of voter
turnout in mayoral elections

8 May 2017: Devolution of economic power from London to the English regions and the creation of regional/metro mayors was the flagship political initiative of Britain’s 2010-to-2015 coalition government. The first group of English regional mayors, who will have considerably political and economic clout, was elected on 4 May 2017 by a decidedly unenthusiastic electorate. However, voters’ interest in municipal affairs is even lower in the US. Mayoral elections in some of the country’s largest cities attract seldom more than 30 per cent of people eligible to vote. In Dallas only six per cent of voters took part in the last mayoral election. Voter participation in German mayoral elections is usually between 40 and 50 per cent, while in Italy turnout between 50 and 60 per cent is not uncommon. In Japan, the average voter turnout in the 62 mayoral elections in 2015 stood at a record low of 50.5 per cent, MORE

World mayors, their
parties and politics

20 March 2017: Well into the second decade of this century, the global pattern of urbanization remains wedded to governance by mayors and city leaders of differing political colours. In this biennial survey of urban political allegiances (since 2009), City Mayors examines the role of partisan politics in how mayors are chosen to lead the world's largest cities, even in what is occasionally termed an anti-political era. Europe recorded a number of minor upsets to the established order since the last survey, but the bigger story here is perhaps the clean sweep witnessed in Latin America of parties of the centre-right. MORE

Tokyo’s first female governor
promises to end financial sleaze

1 August 2016: Put-upon voters in Tokyo went to the polls last weekend to elect a new Governor and overwhelmingly chose their first female city leader, former cabinet minister Yuriko Koike. Koike, who enjoyed a commanding lead in polls through the campaign, was chosen to succeed Yoichi Masuzoe, who resigned in June after his financial scandal engulfed preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Koike was elected as an independent following a bruising campaign against her own Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which instead ran former interior minister Hiroya Masuda. MORE

London prepares
for 2016 mayoral and
council elections

21 October 2015: The fifth elections to the Greater London Authority (both the Mayor of London and the 25 Members of the London Assembly) will be held on May 5 2016. To stand for Mayor of London candidates must be a UK, Irish, Commonwealth or EU citizen aged 18 or over, resident or working in London for at least 12 months and otherwise not disqualified from standing for election. MORE

New Labour Party leader proposes stronger
local councils and a ‘National Education Service’

15 September 2015: Following a campaign, which shattered all known rules of British politics, the socialist Jeremy Corbyn has won the leadership of the UK Labour Party with 59 per cent of party members’ votes on an anti-austerity platform.  Some of Corbyn’s policy ideas which have attracted the most media attention include abolishing the British royal family, handing the Falkland Islands back to Argentina, uniting Ireland and leaving NATO, as well as scrapping the UK’s nuclear deterrent.  However, he has pledged to unite his beleaguered party and asked other factions to respect his historic landslide victory.  Corbyn has since announced a new top team and given some clues to his likely urban policy. MORE

England’s large cities
stay loyal to Labour
10 May 2015: Alongside a national election which saw UK Prime Minister David Cameron returned for a second term of office and the resignation of the three main opposition party leaders, voters in England have seen a number of key local election races in cities and towns.  Despite retaining control of the big English cities, the Labour Party struggled to make headway in non-metropolitan areas.  Elsewhere, London mayor Boris Johnson returned as a Member of Parliament (MP), sparking a year-long race to succeed him when his term ends in 2016. MORE

Labour determined to consolidate
its power in England’s major cities

27 April 2015: On 7 May 2015 elections in the UK will determine not only who forms the next national government but also the control of town and city halls up and down the land. The Conservative Party of Prime Minister David Cameron is offering a bonanza of new powers for cities, which adopt ‘metro mayors’, while the opposition Labour Party is promising to devolve £30bn of spending from central government to all local authorities. Municipal elections for the metro areas around the big cities of Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, and Newcastle will be held alongside polls for directly elected mayors in six local authorities. MORE

Washington and Oakland victories
a boon for aspiring women mayors

7 November 2014: In mid-term elections that brought much misery to US President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party - the party lost control of the US Senate and has to vacate governor mansions in Massachusetts, Maryland, Arkansas and Illinois - the victory of two women in mayoral elections on opposite sides of the country will, no doubt, be noted by Hillary Clinton as she contemplates a possible run for the White House in 2016. While Oakland (California) and Washington DC are Democrat strongholds, the decisive wins of Libby Schaaf on the West Coast and Muriel Bowser in the US capital show what determined women can achieve in an environment that is still largely dominated by white, middle-aged men. MORE

World mayors, their
parties and politics

28 July 2014: The narrative of the global pattern of urbanization is that we are said to live in the ‘urban century’ and the ‘age of the mayor’. Current affairs weeklies nod with approval at mayor-centred urban analysis by Richard Florida, Benjamin Barber and Bruce Katz – city rankings now enjoy the kind of media glow once reserved for corporate giants. But who gets to govern the world’s biggest cities? City Mayors examines the shifts in urban political allegiances and party machines over the past five years. MORE

Corrupt US mayors pose a
threat to decency in society

16 July 2014: The preamble to the City Mayors’ Code of Ethics states that honest local government is the foundation of any nation that strives to provide its citizens with happiness, security and prosperity. It continues to say that corruption and misconduct by local government officials threaten fundamental decency in a society. America’s FBI, which warns that public corruption poses a fundamental threat to national security and the US way of life, has over the past four decades investigated hundreds of elected officials, who used their positions to enrich themselves. Among those convicted are leaders of some of the largest US cities, including Detroit, New Orleans or Baltimore, but also many mayors from small-town America. MORE

German voters back Europe
in countrywide local elections

28 May 2014: While in many countries political parties promoting a Europe of competing rather than co-operating nation states made significant gains in local and European elections held last week, voters in Germany overwhelmingly backed pro-European parties. The newly-formed euro-sceptic Alternative für Deutschland (Alternative for Germany, AfD) only gained seven per cent of votes in Sunday’s elections to the European Parliament and even less in local elections held in ten German states on the same day. MORE

Labour Party reinforces dominance
in England’s largest towns and cities

24 May 2014: Following Thursday’s local elections in England, any political observer from outside Britain may be excused of believing that a nationalist populist party had taken over many of the country’s city halls. But nothing could be further from the truth. Despite post-election coverage insinuating that the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) had caused an electoral earthquake, the party actually holds very few seats and will not control any local authorities. It was in fact the centre-left Labour Party, which swept the board in London and most big towns and cities. MORE

New American
mayors to watch

8 November 2013: On Tuesday, 5 November 2013, American voters in more than 400 cities elected new mayors or confirmed incumbents in office. A number of the country’s most prominent city leaders like New York’s Michael Bloomberg, Boston’s Thomas Menino, Detroit’s Dave Bing or Minneapolis’ R T Ryback retired, while others were thrown out of office. Some of the newly elected mayors, first and foremost Bill de Blasio in NYC, have made it clear that they will adopt different styles and pursue different goals from their predecessors. In addition to de Blasio, new mayors to watch include Mike Duggan (Detroit), Martin Walsh (Boston), Lovely Warren (Rochester), John Cranley (Cincinnati), William Peduto (Pittsburgh) and Ed Murray (Seattle). More

Democratic mayors capture
most of America’s big cities

11 November 2012: On the same day as US President Barack Obama won a second term in office, mayoral elections were held in some 300 major US cities, with the Democrats scoring some notable successes. In San Diego, California, Bob Filner became the city’s first Democratic mayor in 20 years. In an extremely tight race, Filner defeated Republican Carl DeMaio, who, if successful, would have become the first openly gay Republican mayor of a major US city. Other Democratic wins were in Baton Rouge, LA; Honululu, HI and Portland, OR. Mesa, Arizona, re-elected its Republican mayor, while the Republican mayor of Virginia Beach will serve for another four years. More

Scottish Nationalists remain strongest party
but Labour captures Glasgow in local polls

6 May 2012: The Scottish Labour Party and the Scottish National Party (SNP) benefitted from the collapse of the Liberal Democrat vote in Thursday’s (3 May 2012) local government elections. Between them, Labour and the SNP won 818 local council seats out of 1222 in the 32 unitary authorities. The Nationalists made 57 gains, one less than Labour. The Scottish Conservatives lost 16 seats, while their coalition partners in London, the Liberal Democrats, lost 80. More

London Mayor promises to work
harder after narrow election win

5 May 2012: London Mayor Boris Johnson said he and his team would work theirs socks off for London after he narrowly defeated former mayor Ken Livingstone in Thursday's mayoral elections. The results were only announced late last night after the count was severely delayed when it was discovered that two batches of ballot papers had been ‘mislaid’. Boris Johnson’s victory margin of 51.5 per cent to 48.5 per cent for Ken Livingstone was much closer than opinion polls had predicted only two days before the elections. More

Mexico City’s mayoral elections
attract three strong contenders

18 April 2012: Mexico’s main parties have nominated well-known and respected candidates to succeed Mexico City’s current mayor Marcelo Ebrard, who is term-limited. The leftist Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) named Miguel Angel Mancera, who served in Mayor Ebrard’s cabinet, while the centre-right National Action Party of President Felipe Calderon has fielded Isabel Miranda de Wallace, a well-known social activist. The candidate of the centre-left Institutional Revolutionary Party is Beatriz Paredes Rangel, a past governor of Tlaxcala State. More

Former Mexico City mayor
fights again for presidency

7 March 2012: The candidates in this year’s Mexican presidential elections are asked to find solutions to a plethora of challenges facing the country. Among the most pressing are a huge young electorate clamouring for opportunities and a society that feels threatened after more than 40,000 killings which took place during the so-called War on Drugs over the past six years. More

US mayoral elections
produce no surprises

10 November 2011: There were no shock results in mayoral elections held in some 350 US towns and cities on 8 November 2011. In big cities like Houston, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Charlotte and Columbus, there were wins for incumbent mayors, while voters in San Francisco elected the city’s acting mayor Ed Lee. More

Liberal Democrats made to suffer
for unpopular government policies

7 May 2011: UK voters firmly rejected a proposal on voting reform and gave a slap in the face to the party who has long campaigned for it. The Liberal Democrats usually do well in local elections, but were punished this year for unpopular fiscal policies in government. Their senior coalition partner, the Conservatives, defended most of their heartland town halls and even made some modest gains, as voters channelled their frustration over spending cuts against the junior partner. The opposition Labour party made impressive gains in northern England, taking control of several key councils from the Liberal Democrats. More

Canada’s political parties present
urban agendas ahead of election

12 April 2011: The 2011 federal election in Canada has marked a turning point in the country’s political landscape. Nicknamed ‘The Twitter Election’, this campaign has seen an unprecedented number of candidates using social media websites. This election has also been different in the role that cities have played from the onset. Once the election was called Canada’s big cities became the immediate focus with Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver, Edmonton, and Québec City being the major battlegrounds. More

Rochester’s mayoral election reflects
power relationships in American cities

31 March 2011: William A Johnson lost his bid to return as mayor of Rochester, New York, in a special election on 29 March 2011. The result was not surprising considering that Johnson ran on a third-party line and only four of the 1,265 mayors of US cities with more than 25,000 residents were elected without the endorsement of the Democrat or Republican parties. But the Rochester election, more than most local elections, exposed the power relationships that operate in nearly all American cities. More

Toronto and Calgary mayors
offer different views on cities

20 February 2011: Naheed Nenshi, Calgary’s Toronto-born mayor, is now Canada’s mayor. Though he has scrupulously avoided the obvious comparison during his triumphant homecoming this week, in his native city Nenshi can only be seen as everything Toronto’s current mayor Rob Ford is not, i.e. articulate, urban, informed, and best of all, optimistic. More

US clergy increasingly
active in local politics

1 February 2011: Clergy in the US, particularly Protestant clergy, have become more politically active in the last decade. A new study, however, finds that the public is becoming uneasy with the political activities of religious leaders, raising questions about the future of government contracts with faith-based groups. More

American politics falls
victim to consumerism

11 November 2010: The recent US Congressional elections are unlikely to lead to a settlement of issues particularly important to American cities: tax policy, and therefore the distribution of wealth; environmental and energy policy; the implementation of national health care; immigration reform; education reform; and federal transportation policy. That’s because elections in the United States – and political discourse in general – are no longer shaped by major ideological differences as much as a consumerist model of governmental responsibilities. More

Familiar faces leave office
after US mayoral elections

5 November 2010: While the focus of America’s 2010 mid-term elections was on Congressional and gubernatorial races, mayoral elections also took place in more than 200 cities. Many familiar faces will be replaced by eager newcomers. In Washington DC, incumbent Adrian Fenty will be succeeded by Vincent Gray, while the race to eventually replace San Francisco’s Gavin Newsom is still wide open. Louisville’s long-serving mayor Jerry Abramson decided to step down to run for lieutenant governor in November 2011. Rochester’s Robert Duffy has already made the move from City Hall to State House. More

Pakistan’s cities face crisis of the
century without strong leadership

6 September, 2010: Since city governments were removed after the expiration of their tenure, Pakistan’s provinces and their chief ministers have dilly-dallied the issue of local government and now of course with the flood situation across the country, local government elections cannot be held. More

Crazy alliances produce surprising
results in Mexico regional elections

6 July 2010: Despite a climate of drug-related violence which is gripping Mexico, the country’s local and regional elections, held in 14 states on 4 July, proceeded without major incidents. But in Chihuahua and Tamaulipas, the two states most affected by violence, less than 40 per cent of those eligible to vote turned out to do so. In other states the election results were often the product of patched together alliances-of-convenience between left and right. More

Labour makes local gains
but loses general election

8 May 2010: While Britain’s Labour Party lost more than 90 parliamentary seats in the 6 May general election, voters in England, who elected new councils on the same day, provided a surprising return to form for the centre-left party in local government. Labour was successful in retaking a number of London councils it had lost over the past decade and also regained Liverpool City Council after a decade out of power. More

Mexico’s mayors need courage
to face dubious de-facto powers

14 April 2010: This year Mexico celebrates with passion 200 years of independence as well as the centenary of its Revolution - but the country still remains a land of powerful privileged forces who pursue their own interests. They include drug cartels, religious groups and companies. City Mayors’ special Latin American Correspondent examines their influence in three Mexican cities. More

Berlusconi keeps low profile
in Italian regional elections

24 March 2010: All local elections give politicians and pundits a feel of what a country is thinking and are often just treated as a barometer for the government; but the regional elections in 13 out of Italy’s 20 regions on 28 and 29 March 2010 are much more than a glorified opinion poll. They will distribute real power over key political resources such as health, education and industry as well as a lot of jobs. Their outcome will also directly affect key issues such as the economic recovery and the way corruption is dealt with. More

Tea Party Patriots appeal to
Small-Town White America
20 February 2010: Small groups of fiscal and social conservatives in the United States began meeting in Spring 2009 under the moniker of Tea Parties -- the Chicago Tea Party, Kentucky Tea Party, and so on -- to organize small, but vocal local protests against big government and high taxes. Their name is intended to invoke the 1773 Boston Tea Party revolt of the American colonists against English taxation without representation, a pivotal event leading to the American Revolution. More

Mexican mayors offered little
support when assuming office

3 January 2010: Sometimes in developing countries, like Mexico, the biggest challenges for mayors are not those they may face once in office but those just before taking it. Imagine a mayor-elect about to inherit a city with more than 300,000 people, an annual population growth rate of 14 per cent, severe infrastructure problems, a high poverty index and a history of previous inept administrations. Finally imagine inheriting these responsibilities six days before the end of the year. Where does this mayor start? More

High profile incumbents prevail
in American mayoral elections

4 November 2009: The big story of this year’s US mayoral elections is the narrow victory of Michael Bloomberg in the New York City race, who obtained a previously impossible third term by only four per cent over Democrat challenger William Thompson. Incumbents also triumphed in Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, St Paul and Rochester, while second-round ballots will need to be held in Atlanta and Houston. More

Green Party and Free Democrats
gain in Germany's local elections

9 June 2009: The Green Party emerged as the surprise winner in local elections, which took place in seven German states alongside voting for the European Parliament on 7 June 2009. Support for the Greens was particularly strong in southern Germany. With both, the country’s largest parties, the Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Social Democrats (SPD), suffering losses, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) also performed well. The results for Germany’s newest party, the left-wing Linke, were below expectations. The right-wing National Party of Germany (NPD) achieved some double-digit successes in its strongholds in eastern Germany but made little impact in other areas of the country. Local elections were held in Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. More

Meltdown for Labour in
English local elections

5 June 2009: The governing Labour Party of Gordon Brown has suffered total meltdown in the English local elections, losing its last remaining county councils and both mayoralties it was defending. The election results, widely anticipated as a likely indicator of the embattled prime minister’s ability to cling on to office, were overshadowed by a series of cabinet resignations, designed to challenge to his authority to lead. Results from the European Parliamentary elections held the same day will not be known until Sunday, after the rest of Europe has voted. More

British expenses scandal
dominates political debate

23 May 2009: Local elections will take place in England on 7 June this year, alongside those for the European Parliament. Elections will be held for all 27 county councils in England, as well as a handful of urban unitary authorities. Three of England’s 11 directly elected mayors will also be elected, while the elected mayor system in Stoke on Trent will be abolished and replaced with an indirectly elected leader on the same day. Following the scandal over British parliamentarians’ profligate expenses claims, voters are likely to turn against the two main parties amid a reported rise in the popularity of minor parties. More

Helen Zille - My aim for South Africa:
An open, opportunity-driven society

26 April 2009: The African National Congress (ANC) won the 2009 South African elections convincingly but, nationally, fell just short of the two-thirds majority, which it easily passed five years earlier. The ANC also won in eight of South Africa’s nine provinces, the only exception being the Western Cape, where the Democratic Alliance (DA), led by Cape Town Mayor Helen Zille, received 51 per cent of the provincial vote. More

Istanbul and Ankara
reelect sitting mayors

31 March 2009: Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has performed less well than expected in elections seen as a referendum on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government. The polls, marred by violence in some rural areas, saw close run contests in the main cities of Istanbul and Ankara. More

Obama promises to become
America’s first urban president

25 November 2008: Barack Obama has promised to advance a number of issues important to mayors of US cities soon after he takes office on 20 January 2009. America's 44th President says he will create 2.5 million well-paying jobs during the first two years of his administration by renovating infrastructure and schools and developing alternative energy sources. More

Left and centre-right make
gains in Brazil’s larger cities

28 October 2008: Gilberto Kassab of the centre-right Democrats party, won the contest for São Paulo mayor in the second round yesterday (26 October), beating Marta Suplicy, the PT candidate, by 60.7% to 39.3%. According to political scientist Maria Victoria Benevides, Kassab owed his victory to a generally indifferent public. In contrast, Suplicy, provoked strong feelings of rejection, especially among the middle class who feel the government has privileged the very rich and very poor. A former mayor of São Paulo between 1997 and 2000, More

Race and weather may
influence US elections

22 October 2008: Earlier this year, the US Conference of Mayors released a 10-point plan to revitalize American cities. The mayors pressed the presidential candidates to adopt their plan as official campaign policy and take a position in support of cities. The mayors assumed that voters pay attention to a candidate's policies and positions. However, studies of American voter behavior suggest that such factors as the color of a candidate's clothes or the weather outside may play at least as important a role as a candidate’s policies in determining the outcome of a presidential election. More

Very few mayors rise to top
positions in US government

21 September 2008: Sarah Palin, the running mate of Republican presidential candidate John McCain, is a former mayor of Wasilla (population 7,000), Alaska. Ms. Palin is trying to become the second mayor ever to ascend to the vice-presidency of the United States. To a large degree, Palin’s candidacy reflects Americans’ ambivalence towards cities. More

French municipal elections offer
Sarkozy some crumbs of comfort

18 March 2008: In 2005 the French legislature extended the mandates of the country's 36,783 mayors by one year, arguing that it would be unfair to hold local elections as scheduled alongside the 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections. Unfair on whom, it could be asked. Certainly not Nicolas Sarkozy, who would have been viewing a very different map of town hall control had the poll been held in 2007, the year of his party's dual electoral triumph and the beginning of splits within the opposition Socialist Party (PS), still recoiling at losing three presidential elections on the trot and watching from the sidelines. More

US presidential candidates
largely ignore urban issues

28 February 2008: US cities are struggling with unemployment, housing, underperforming schools, aging infrastructure, and poverty, while devoting more resources than ever to energy costs and homeland security. Mayors of the nation’s cities say that such concerns have been largely ignored in the presidential campaigns. The US Conference of Mayors has urged the presidential candidates to adopt their 10-point plan Strong Cities for a Strong America ’08. It asks candidates to commit to strengthening the economies of metropolitan areas. More

Ukrainian mayors are ready
for a municipal revolution

4 December 2007: Many mayors in the Ukraine are angry about the lack of progress of reforming the relationship between central and local government. They accuse the government of neglecting the needs of cities, towns and villages to protect the interests, and often bank accounts, of their business supporters. Now local leaders call for a municipal revolution to follow on from the country’s Orange revolution. More

Democrat city mayors did well
in American off-year elections

7 November 2007: In any other country it would be tempting to consider the results of municipal races as part of a national trend affecting the outcome of future general elections, but in the US the familiar saying all politics is local truly holds sway. While presidential contenders continue to vie for their party’s endorsement, across urban America the Democrats either returned mayors or introduced new faces into city halls. Most significantly, San Francisco’s Gavin Newsom, Houston’s Bill White, Baltimore’s Sheila Dixon and Pittsburgh’s Luke Ravenstahl, all Democrats, easily won re-election, while in Philadelphia Michael Nutter coasted home to replace term-limited John Street. More

Texan mayors want
to stop border

17 October 2007: Mayors of several Texas towns on or near the US border with Mexico have filed legal actions to stop the federal government from building a planned security fence to deter illegal immigrants and drug smugglers. Both Mexico's current president and former president are also weighing in against the fence. Mayors and city councils all along the Rio Grande river, which forms the border with Mexico, are banding together in an effort to stop construction of the fence. More

Even in an ‘off-year’ Americans are asked
to elect hundreds of thousands of officials

8 September 2007: The world watches closely every four years as the United States elects a new president, and most people know that congressional elections are held every other year. But many people may not realize that even in off-years, such as 2007, thousands of elective positions are filled around the country. More

Mayoral contests dominate
America’s off-year elections

5 September 2007: Ahead of the widest open presidential election in living memory set for November 2008, city races across urban America will provide few pointers to its outcome. The 'lame duck' presidency of George W. Bush and the slow-burning decline of his administration through staged departures of key allies, as well as the wooing of voters by his putative successors, will have negligible effect on mayoral races. With only three gubernatorial races penciled in this November and no elections to Congress, mayors will have the stage to themselves. Instead, the usual routine concerns and personality politics will determine the future occupancy of city halls in November's off-year elections. More

Time has come for city mayors
to challenge for US presidency

3 August, 2007: A former mayor of New York City, Rudolph Guiliani, is a leading Republican candidate for president. The city's current mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is the subject of much speculation since he is said to be considering a run. However until now, few mayors have had the national standing to aspire to the presidency. More

Democratic and Republican election rivals
pledge to change how Philadelphia is run

30 July 2007: Conversations about the state of Philadelphia, the sixth-largest US city, in this election year have a Tale-of-Two-Cities quality about them. New residents flock to the city center and some outlying districts while the city as a whole continues to lose population. House and apartment prices have risen smartly over the past decade, but employment has fallen. People stroll the streets of the city’s business and entertainment district Center City at all hours without fear, but the city is in the grip of a violent crime epidemic not seen in at least a decade. More

Russian mayors in the spotlight
ahead of key national elections

22 June 2007: High-profile lawsuits against city mayors have been a prominent feature of Russia's political life in the past year. Prosecutors say they are combating rampant corruption in municipal administrations. But the lawsuits are widely seen as part of another, ongoing battle - one aimed at muzzling dissent in the regions ahead of key elections. More

US presidential candidates are not paying
enough attention to nation’s urban issues

9 June 2007: Almost a year before the first US primary ballots are cast in January 2008, the campaign for president got rolling in earnest this spring. There was news of Rudy Giuliani's wife's undisclosed first marriage, Illinois Senator Barack Obama nipping at New York Senator Hillary Clinton's heels in the fundraising race and John Edwards' $400 haircut. All but ignored was a report from the Center for American Progress that outlined "a national strategy to cut poverty in half." Though it garnered few headlines, the poverty report forms part of a burgeoning effort to put lower-income people and urban areas closer to the campaign spotlight. More

Nationalists negotiate coalition deals
in some of Scotland’s largest cities

4 June 2007: Mayor changes are likely to affect Scotland’s cities and major towns over the next four years after the first ever Scottish National Party election success, which has resulted in that party running a minority administration in the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood (Edinburgh) and becoming the largest party in Scottish local government. More

Socialists, conservatives and nationalists
all claim success in Spanish local elections

29 May 2007: Both of Spain’s main political parties, the ruling socialists and the opposition conservatives, have declared themselves satisfied with the outcome of the country’s local and regional elections held on Sunday, 27 May 2007. While the opposition People’s Party (PP) received the highest number of votes, the centre-left Socialist Party (PSOE) gained the largest number of seats on local and regional councils. More

As costs and casualties mount
US cities urge end to Iraq war

9 May 2007: When President Bush appeared in a flight suit on the deck of aircraft carrier USS Lincoln on 1 May 2003 to declare an end to major combat in Iraq, he received high approval ratings in American public opinion polls. Four years later, the president’s ratings have fallen, and nearly 300 American cities have passed resolutions calling for the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq. More

As Blair prepares to leave office, his party
suffers election losses across the country

5 May 2007: In local and regional elections held across Great Britain on 3 May 2007, the country’s governing Labour Party suffered losses in most parts of England, Scotland and Wales. The most significant defeat for party of departing Prime Minister Tony Blair occurred in Scotland, where the Scottish Nationalists became the largest party in the Scottish Parliament. In regional elections in Wales, Labour failed to win an overall majority in the Welsh Assembly and will have to enter a coalition if it hopes to continue to form the regional government. Meanwhile in English local elections, Labour lost control of nine local councils, while the Conservative Party gained 38, with the Liberal Democrats, the UK’s third party, losing five. There were no elections held in London. More

Murder, bankruptcy and nuclear waste
were all part of Japan’s local elections

24 April 2007: Japan's first set of unified local polls have concluded with the second round elections held 22 April 2007. In what should have been a more low-key set of polls following the prefectural gubernatorial races held a fortnight ago, eyes were squarely on the Nagasaki mayoral vote held after the slaying of incumbent Iccho Ito, with two national by-elections also concentrating party efforts. More

Local election results boost
Japan’s governing coalition

9 April 2007: Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara was re-elected for a third term in the 8 April 2007 poll in a vote that will draw comfort for the national governing coalition, but showing the independent city chief on a much reduced tally of just 50 per cent. In a race lacking in verve from principal challenger Shiro Asano against the beleaguered incumbent, footage of Kouichi Toyama, a street entertainer running as an anarchist, from public television election broadcasts had unexpectedly become the most-played Japanese clip on YouTube on account of his confrontational speech-imploring voters to rise up against the "detestable nation". More

First unified local elections viewed with
anxiety by Japan’s two largest parties

26 March 2007: Campaigning is underway for Japan’s first ever set of unified local government elections. Previously election dates were scattered throughout the spring, leaving most races held on local issues rather than having all eyes on any national campaigning. The move towards unified local polls across Japan, as well as the rescinding of the ban on local election manifestos, was designed to reinvigorate the local democratic process by making such races more charged. More

Corruption and terrorism to dominate
Spanish regional and local elections

15 March 2007: ETA terrorism and corruption in local government: those are the two issues that will most probably decide this year’s local and regional elections in Spain. The government’s response to terrorism by ETA, the Basque region's separatist movement, and well-publicised cases of corruption in local politics have led to a polarisation of Spanish politics. For both main political parties, the socialists and conservatives, the local elections are the last major test before the next general elections. More

A new approach to persuading
local talent to serve on councils

9 February 2007: After decades of neglect the issue of where to find local councillors has become a burning topic in England. The UK government and the Local Government Association have announced a commission to be chaired by Jane Roberts, former leader of Camden Council in London, to look at the barriers and incentives into serving as a councillor. More

Directly elected mayors are not
an effective model for England

19 November 2006: Let me make clear from the start – I don’t like the idea of elected mayors. I have been a councillor a long, long time and do not believe that they are an effective model for most areas. I am not scared of change – I embrace it and preach it. I oppose (elected) mayors as a matter of principle and because we can already see that they are having no discernible impact on the areas they lead. More

White Paper proposes stronger mayors
and more power to English communities

England’s few elected mayors
score highly on accountability

UK political parties debate
Britain’s local democracy

England struggles over the
concept of elected mayors

Not red and blue but black and white
are the true colours of US elections

Study of Canada’s hub cities
blinkered by regional politics

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