Hertfordshire and Hertsmere councils could soon be run by directly-elected Mayors, replacing those chosen by party members, if plans in a recently-published Government White Paper become law.

The Labour / Lib Dem leadership at Hertfordshire's County Hall welcomed the plans, aimed at getting more people interested in local Government, which also see county elections held every two years instead of every four.

By the year 2000, around half of the county's 77 seats could be fought every two years, instead of all of the seats every four years.

Borough councils would also follow a similar, two-yearly cycle, with elections taking place in between county elections.

And to encourage political participation, councils will have the power to introduce innovations such as electronic voting, mobile polling stations and even voting on different days.

County council leader and member for Borehamwood North, John Metcalf, said: "These proposals recognise the vital role local authorities play in maintaining and improving the quality of people's lives."

Deputy leader Chris White said: "Making local councils relevant and interesting is one of our greatest challenges and I welcome the new opportunities promised in this white paper."

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