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By LGC reporter Chris Mahony in Newham ...
By LGC reporter Chris Mahony in Newham

Newham LBC's longserving Labour leader, Robin Wales, became the country's second directly elected mayor at 11.08pm last night.

Sir Robin, who has led the council for six years, won just over half the vote to win on the first ballot and avoid the need for a count of second preferences.

But he voiced disappointment at the turnout of 25.49%, a 3% fall on the 1998 borough elections despite the arrival of the mayoral contest and a raft of measures to make voting easier, including an e-voting pilot and increased availability of postal and early voting.

Sir Robin also acknowledged that the piloting of e-counting had not been a complete success with the timetable for the declaration slipping throughout the evening from an initial target of 9.45pm. Council officials stressed the delay was not due to the technology but over-optimistic forecasts on how long it would take to move the 'cartridges' from computers at each polling station to the town hall.

The BNP's Michael Davidson recorded around 7% of the vote.

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