Judge lets New York city term-limits vote proceed
NEW YORK |
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A decision on extending term limits for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other elected officials will proceed as planned, a judge ruled on Wednesday.
The 51-member City Council is scheduled to vote on Thursday on lifting term limits and allowing the mayor and council members to seek three four-year terms, rather than just two.
Bloomberg, a former Wall Street trader and self-made billionaire who was elected in 2001 and again in 2005, wants to run again on grounds that his financial experience will be valuable in guiding the city through lean fiscal times ahead.
A simple majority will be required to pass the bill in the council, where about two-thirds of members will be forced out of office next year under the current law.
Two council members who opposed the proposal took the issue to court, claiming it would be a conflict of interest for members to vote to extend their own political careers.
But Supreme Court Justice Jacqueline Silbermann rejected that argument, saying members who opposed the bill would have the option of voting against it or abstaining.
Last week, the Conflicts of Interest Board rejected a similar argument.
In 1993 and 1996, New Yorkers voted to limit the mayor and other city officials to two four-year terms.
A Quinnipiac University poll on Tuesday found 89 percent of voters say a referendum of voters, not a council vote, should decide the issue.
A lawyer for the city said he expected the council vote to proceed as planned.
Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani sought to stay on as his second term was ending in 2001 after the September 11 attacks. But his proposal proved unpopular, and he backed down.
(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst)
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