07/05/2008

Election Reflections

The major shock of the County Council elections in the five Aberystwyth wards was the election of Plaid Cymru's Rob Gorman as County Councillor for Penparcau. Goronwy Edwards, last time's runaway winner, scraped into second place in the two-seat ward by just 14 votes over Plaid's other candidate Steve Davies, narrowly avoiding a double shock in a ward which was regarded as a safe seat for Independents. Owen Jones, the previous holder of the second Penparcau seat finished fourth.

The other four County Councillors in Aberystwyth were all re-elected, although, in North Ward, not without a struggle. Aled Davies, Plaid Cymru's widely-fancied candidate finished just 23 votes behind the sitting councillor and Cabinet Member Carl Williams. At the last election the margin between the same two candidates was 26 so little has changed and the ward remains on a political knife-edge.

In Bronglais ward I was delighted to win the largest majority in Aberystwyth in finishing 300 votes ahead of the Lib Dem candidate. The Bronglais turnout, at 46.22% was also the highest in the town.

In Central ward, Mark Strong pushed the Plaid Cymru vote up to 30% from the previous 22% but, despite working extraordinariliy hard, still finished 154 votes short of sitting councillor Ceredig Davies.

In Rheidol ward, Plaid Cymru's Sue Jones-Davies knocked 105 off the majority of Eric Griffiths, the sitting councillor, but still finished some way behind.

Aberystwyth now has two Plaid Cymru councillors, three Lib Dems and one Independent. However Plaid Cymru increased it's vote in all five wards of the town and missed two more seats by just 14 and 23 votes respectively. They won 45% of all votes cast across the town compared to 33% at the last local elections. By contrast the Lib Dem vote went down from 37% to 31%.

Similarly, in the Town Council elections, where 35 candidates stood for 19 seats, the Plaid Cymru vote went up from 40% to 46% whilst the Lib Dems went down from 36% to 32%. These figures may well have implications for the next general election where the Lib Dems will be defending a slim majority.

The Town Council now has nine Plaid Cymru councillors, six Lib Dems, two Independents, one Green and one Labour. The total turnout across the town went up from 3608 in 2004 to 3890 this time, showing that democracy is alive and well in Aberystywth.

See the full results below.

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