The race is on for council seats in this year’s polls across East Anglia

The local elections take place on May 2. Picture: Ashley Pickering

The local elections take place on May 2. Picture: Ashley Pickering - Credit: Archant

Nominations open today for candidates planning to stand in this year’s local council elections on May 2.

There are elections for all the district and borough councils in the region, and people can hand in nomination papers to their returning officer from today until April 3.

There are strict rules about who can stand for a council seat – candidates have to live in or work in the council area for which they are seeking election.

They do not have to live in the ward they want to stand in – but those nominating or seconding them for candidacy do have to live in the ward.

Anyone nominated to stand can change their mind and withdraw their nomination by next Wednesday. The returning officers have 24 hours from the close of nominations to check everything is in order before publishing the lists of candidates on April 4.

The opening of nominations is often seen as the official start of the election campaign, although some councils have already published their official notice of poll.

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There are new wards and new councils in every council in Suffolk apart from Ipswich.

East and West Suffolk are two new super-districts which come into existence next Monday from the mergers of Suffolk Coastal and Waveney on one side of the county and St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath on the other.

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Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils retain their separate identities, although have a shared administration, and they have had the number of wards reduced in a review by the Boundary Commission.

The councillors elected on May 2 will serve four-year terms. For East Suffolk, West Suffolk, Mid Suffolk and Babergh councils this year’s contests are all-out elections with all seats up for grabs.

In Ipswich a third of the 48 seats are up for election – they were last contested in 2015 when the Conservatives did well in the borough.

That means it is impossible for the Tories to win enough new seats this time to overturn the Labour majority at the borough.

In all the other Suffolk district councils, Conservatives have held a majority for the last four years – and most local politicians are not expecting that situation to change dramatically after the May 2 elections.

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