Who will be Strathfield's next Mayor?

The hotly contested battle for the mayoral robes is on the minds of most of Strathfield’s seven councillors.

This year’s election, which must take place before the end of the month, has an added piquancy: the threat of amalgamation means that after 130 years, this year’s leading citizen could be our last.

Who will be the face of the oasis of the West? That will be decided by seven councillors. And that means a delicate game of negotiation and alliances, with the two independents, Andrew Soulos and Helen McLucas, playing a prominent part.

Voters elected three Liberal and two Labor candidates at the last election, meaning the Liberals need the support of just one independent while Labor needs both.

Most councillors were playing their cards close to their chest. Only two, Helen McLucas and Raj Datta, confirmed they would put their hands up. Both would need to woo and win support from colleagues.

Most sources say Deputy Mayor Andrew Soulos could be the kingmaker again this year. He has supported the Liberals in the past.

Will he stand in this own right with the support of Liberals this year?

“I would be stirring the waters if I gave my opinion. At this stage its important to get stability and harmony into the council,” Cr Soulos told the Scene. “I just want to see through this amalgamation fight.”

It has also been suggested two-term mayor Cr Vaccari might be keen to retain the role. His only comment: “Depends how the numbers fall on who gets the job. All I can say is any of the councillors would be interested to be the mayor if they get the four votes required.”

Cr Helen McLucas was more forthcoming.

“Yes I am standing as a mayor and as a community worker. I have no agenda other than working with the residents and helping those who are most vulnerable. I have been on
the council for five years and I have been community focused all through,” she said.

To win, however, Cr McLucas will need the support of either Cr Soulos or one Liberal.

“I am very concerned about Strathfield with the aggressive amalgamation campaign of the current Liberal government which negates the community,” she said.

Councillor Daniel Bott hasn’t made up his mind whether he will run for mayor and said he doesn’t wish to reveal who he supports.

“This is going to be the most important election in Strathfield. Whoever is chosen as mayor needs to display quality leadership,” he said.

When the Scenespoke with Councillor Raj Datta, he said; " As a leading Labor candidate, I firmly belive that I have the ability to stage the best fight against amalgamation."

Liberal councillors Sang Ok and Stephanie Kokkolis chose not to reveal their positions.


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