Sixty Comhairle hopefuls will be seeking public votes on May 4th
Sixty island residents are throwing their hats into the ring as they stand to secure one of 31 councillor positions in the upcoming Comhairle nan Eilean Siar elections, taking place on May 4th.
The majority of present council members are standing again – however current Comhairle Leader Angus Campbell will not be one of them.
Also not standing for re-election are two of the Comhairle's three female councillors – Zena Stewart (Point), and current Chair of the authority's Education and Children's Service committee Catriona Stewart (Broadbay) – although there are seven female candidates hoping to secure the votes in May.
Also not standing this year are Iain MacKenzie (Stornoway North), Philip R Mclean (Harris and South Lochs), and Norman M Macleod (Point).
In Ward 1 – Barra, Vatersay, Eriskay and South Uist – current councillors David Blaney (Independent), Ronald Mackinnon (Independent), Donnie Steele (Independent) and Donald Manford (SNP) are all standing for election and are joined by hopefuls Gerry Macleod (Independent), Calum Macmillan (SNP), Iain Archie Macneil (Independent), and Paul Francis Steele.
Benbecula and North Uist, Ward 2, sees its three current councillors re-standing – Neil Beaton (Independent), Uisdean Robertson (Independent), and Andrew Walker (Independent) – alongside Ken Macbrayne (Scottish Conservative and Unionist), Roddy Mackay (Independent), Iain Murdoch Macleod (Independent), John Macleod (Independent), and Roslyn Macpherson (SNP).
Ward 3 – Harris and South Lochs – has only two of its three current councillors re-standing, Catherine Macdonald (Independent) and DJ Macrae (Independent), who are joined by hopefuls Finlay Cunningham (Independent), Paul Anthony Finnegan (Independent), Fiona Macleod (SNP), Sheena Macleod (Independent), John Graham Mitchell (SNP), Alex Dan Smith (Independent), and Denise Wilson (Independent).
Moving to Uig and North Lochs, Ward 4, and all three current councillors will re-stand, including Comhairle Convener Norman A Macdonald (Independent), as well as Angus Morrison (Independent) and Donald 'Cudig' Macleod (Independent). And hoping to take a seat from one is candidate Ranald Fraser (Scottish Conservative and Unionist).
Ward 5 – Point – and only current councillor, Alasdair Macleod (Independent), is to re-stand for election, with Don Macdonald (Scottish Conservative and Unionist), Norrie Tomsh Macdonald (Independent), John Murdo Macmillan (Independent), Tony Robson (Independent), and Finlay Mackenzie Stewart (Independent) battling it out alongside for one of the three seats.
There are eight candidates all aiming for one of the four councillor positions in Stornoway South, Ward 6, with Charlie Nicolson (Independent), Angus McCormack (Independent), and Rae Mackenzie (SNP) all standing for re-election.
They are joined by Caroline Linda Brick (Independent), Keith Dodson (Independent), Shonnie Beag Macritchie (Independent), Campbell McKenzie (Independent), and Derek Mcpherson (Independent).
Stornoway North, Ward 7, see new candidate Lesley McKenzie (Independent) join current councillors seeking re-election Iain M Macaulay (Independent), Neil Mackay (Independent), Roddie Mackay (Independent), and Gordon Murray (SNP) on the list.
Ward 8 – Broadbay – current councillors Donald Crichton (Independent) and John A Maciver (SNP) are ready to stand again, along with Ruaraidh Ferguson (Independent), Iain C Maciver (Independent), Allan Cameron Maclachlan (Independent), and Calum Maclean (Independent).
And Ward 9 – West Side and Ness – all four current councillors are aiming for re-election: John Mackay (Independent), Alistair Maclennan (Independent), Kenneth Macleod (SNP), and John Norman Macleod (Independent).
Hoping to take a seat from one are Malcolm Ivor Mctaggart (Independent) and Kenny John Macleod (Independent).
With a majority of council hopefuls standing under an Independent ticket, the Western Isles SNP have high hopes of strengthening its impact in the council chamber..
Current SNP councillor Gordon Murray (Stornoway North) commented: “This is a critical time for out islands. There are real opportunities for us all but we need the right people making the right decisions.
“An SNP led Administration will provide collective leadership and vision. This has been lacking for many years.
“Working across the Hebrides we will ensure that every community has a say in what matters to them. We will work to ensure no community benefits at the expense of another,” he continued.
“Our Islands don't need more of the same. We will bring about transformational change. This is urgently needed if we want a better future for all.”
Western Isles residents will have their say about their future on Thursday, May 4th, when voting in the Comhairle elections takes place between 7am and 10pm across the isles.
Residents must be registered to vote and applications to register must reach the Electoral Registration Officer at 42 Point Street, Stornoway, by midnight on Monday, April 17th.
Applications can also be made online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
Registered voters may also vote by post or proxy at this election and applications, amendments or cancellations of postal votes must reach the Electoral Registration Officer by 5pm on Tuesday, April 18th.
Applications to vote by proxy can be applied for on grounds of physical incapacity or for work/service reasons – and must reach the Electoral Registration Officer by Tuesday, April 25th.