Wales politics

Uncontested council election seats 'mockery of democracy'

Council services Image copyright Thinkstock

Nearly 100 councillors in Wales will be reappointed without being challenged at the local elections.

On Thursday, 7.3% of Welsh local authority seats will be uncontested, with 92 councillors returned without any votes being cast.

One county councillor in Powys has gone unchallenged for his seat for 37 years.

Prof Roger Scully, of Cardiff University's Wales Governance Centre, said it made a "mockery of democracy".

Yscir, in Powys, is the only ward in Wales with no one standing for election as its councillor of 27 years is retiring.

When there is no challenger, no votes are cast and the incumbent councillor is returned to their position.

Half of Wales' 22 local authorities have at least one such ward.

Gwynedd has the largest number of uncontested seats in Wales, with 21, while Powys comes second-highest with 16.

Michael Williams has been a councillor in Powys for 37 years and has not faced an opponent since he was elected.

Now aged 74, the independent councillor for Machynlleth will be re-elected again, uncontested, on 4 May.

Mr Williams, who has also been a Machynlleth town councillor for 43 years, said he had not faced any challengers as he was doing a good job.

"I have always looked at my being a councillor as a partnership with the people of Machynlleth," he said, and added he has no plans to step down any time soon.

But the lack of choice for the electorate in such seats has led to concerns.

Prof Scully, who is an expert in politics, said: "Democracy depends on people having a choice, having no candidates means there is no choice.

"We do have quite a large number of uncontested seats: it's a disaster in terms of democracy, that people don't have a choice.

"It makes a mockery of democracy, it is disastrous for everyone that we have this sort of situation."

Prof Scully said the proportion of uncontested seats in Wales had only slightly improved since 2012, despite not a single seat going uncontested in Scotland at the nation's last local elections.

Local elections 2017: Uncontested seats

Caerphilly

Image copyright Jaggery/Geograph
Image caption The councillor will be returned automatically in Twyn Carno, Rhymney

Twyn Carno

Carmarthenshire

Image copyright Marion Phillips/ Geograph
Image caption No one is contesting the seat in Llanybydder

Llanddarog

Llanfihangel ar arth

Llanybydder

Trelech

Ceredigion

Image copyright Google
Image caption Llanfarian near Aberystwyth is one of the uncontested seats in Ceredigion

Beulah

Llanarth

Llandysiliogogo

Llanfarian

Llanwenog

Trefeurig

Troedyraur

Conwy

Image copyright Alwyn Williams/Geograph
Image caption The current councillor in Llansannan will be returned without any votes being cast

Bryn

Caerhun

Eglwysbach

Llansannan

Llysfaen

Pandy

Denbighshire

Image copyright Jeff Buck/Geograph
Image caption Two councillors will be reappointed for the seat of Rhyl West without a contest

Corwen

Llanbedr Dyffryn Clwyd Llanfihangel

Llandrillo

Rhyl West - two seats

Flintshire

Image copyright Jeff Buck/Geograph
Image caption In Penyffordd two councillors will be re-elected without contest

Bagillt West

Broughton North East

Ffynnongroyw

Flint Castle

Flint Coleshill - two seats

Holywell Central

Holywell West

Mold East

Penyffordd - two seats

Treuddyn

Gwynedd

Image copyright Jaggery
Image caption Gwynedd council has the highest number of uncontested seats of any local authority in Wales

Arllechwedd

Deiniolen

Glyder

Llanrug

Pentir

Llandygai

Y Felinheli

Abererch

Llanbedrog

Llanystumdwy

Nefyn

Porthmadog West

Aberdyfi

Brithdir/Llanfachreth/Ganllwyd/Llanelltyd

Corris/Mawddwy

Llandderfel

Llangelynin

Llanuwchllyn

Penrhyndeudraeth

Teigl

Bala

Neath Port Talbot

Image copyright Chris Shaw/Geograph
Image caption Port Talbot has three councillors who will be re-elected to the council without any votes being cast

Briton Ferry West

Port Talbot - three seats

Pembrokeshire

Image copyright Garth Newton/Geograph
Image caption 13 seats on Pembrokeshire council will be uncontested on Thursday

Burton

Cilgerran

Clydau

Haverfordwest: Priory

Lampeter Velfrey

Llangwm

Manorbier

Milford East

Narberth Rural

Newport

St Ishmaels

Tenby North

Tenby South

Powys

Image caption The ward of Yscir, in Powys, is the only one in Wales where no one is standing

Old Radnor

Llanafanfawr

Llanwrtyd

Yscir - no one standing

Maescar/Llywel

Abercraf

Ystradgynlais

Cwmtwrch

Ynyscedwyn

Tawe Uchaf

Talybont-on-Usk

Llangynidr

Bwlch

Churchstoke

Meifod

Machynlleth

Newtown East

Wrexham

Image copyright Eirian Evans/Geograph
Image caption Marchwiel is one of three council wards in Wrexham where councillors will be reappointed automatically

Little Acton

Marchwiel

Minera

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