Nearly 100 municipal seats uncontested in local elections

NOT

the first 100 council seats in this week’s local elections have already been filled, depriving tens of thousands of voters of the chance to have a say on Election Day.

A total of 91 seats up for grabs on May 5 were declared uncontested, meaning only one candidate stood.

In the absence of any opposition, the 91 people will be elected automatically, leaving the voters of these regions without the possibility of expressing a choice at the ballot box.

The majority of the uncontested seats are in Wales, where 72 candidates already know they have won a seat on their local council.

The most extreme example is Gwynedd, where 28 of 69 council seats – just over 40% – have seen only one person stand for election, according to data compiled by the PA news agency.

The 28 are made up of 19 Plaid Cymru candidates, eight independents and one Liberal Democrat.

(PA graphics)

In another Welsh council, Pembrokeshire, 19 of 60 seats are uncontested, comprising 10 independents, four Conservatives, four Labor candidates and one from Plaid Cymru.

Wrexham Council has eight of its 56 undisputed seats, along with seven out of 68 in Powys, five out of 38 in Ceredigion, three out of 60 in Neath Port Talbot, one out of 48 in Denbighshire and one out of 75 in Carmarthenshire.

The figures mean around 6% of all council seats up for election in Wales on May 5 have already been filled.

In Scotland, five councils said they had uncontested seats, although none were Gwynedd-wide or Pembrokeshire-wide.

Five of Shetland’s 23 seats are uncontested, along with four of 29 in the Western Isles, three of 22 in Inverclyde, three of 26 in Moray and three of 74 in Highland.

This represents just over 1% of all council seats in Scotland.

(PA graphics)

Only one seat in England is undisputed: St Oswald in Sefton in Merseyside, where the only candidate to stand was from the Labor Party.

Uncontested seats are a common factor in local elections in Britain and although the rate is high in some parts of the country, the overall total has fallen in recent years.

In 1979, nearly one in five (18%) of all council seats up for grabs were unopposed, but since 2012 the rate has never been higher than 4%, according to research published by the Library of Communal room.

The total may also vary from year to year, depending on how many councils hold elections.

In 2018 there were no uncontested seats in Britain, while the following year the number was around 2%.

And despite the impressive number of elections in 2021, due to the postponement of many polls from 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, only one uncontested seat was reported.

This year, 200 UK local authorities are holding elections on May 5.

Every council seat in Scotland, Wales and London is up for grabs and there are polls in much of the rest of England.

The 91 uncontested seats represent just over 1% of the approximately 6,900 seats to be filled.

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