The Mayor of Bristol is the head of Bristol City Council. The Mayor is an elected politician who, along with the 70 members of Bristol City Council, is responsible for the strategic government of the city of Bristol, England. The role was created after a local referendum held on 3 May 2012, which followed the passage of the Localism Act 2011. 41,032 voted for an elected mayor and 35,880 voted against, with a turnout of 24%. An election for the new post was held on 15 November 2012.
Campaigning groups supporting (A Mayor for Bristol) and opposing (Bristol Says No!) an elected mayor were established. A debate organised by the University of Bristol took place in the Council House on 22 February 2012.
During the campaign, there were complaints that many voters did not receive leaflets produced by the city council explaining what the referendum was about. Cities minister, Greg Clark accused the council of inaccuracies in the leaflet and refused to cover the printing costs. After Clark promised more powers would be available to Bristol with an elected mayor, the city council accused him of "blackmail".
The result, declared on 4 May 2012 by returning officer Stephen McNamara, was in favour of creating the position. Bristol was the only one of the ten cities voting that day to choose having an elected mayor.
The first election for the new post was held on 15 November 2012, the same day as elections for a Police and Crime Commissioner for the Avon and Somerset Constabulary area. A number of potential candidates expressed and interest in standing, and 15 candidates stood for election to be Mayor.
The supplementary vote system is used for the elections, with each voter being entitled to list a first and second choice candidate. In this system if no candidate has more than half of the votes plus one in the first round of counting, all candidates other than the top two are eliminated and voters' second choices from the eliminated candidates are then allocated to the remaining candidates. The second election for Mayor of Bristol will take place in May 2016.