Edward Mandla
Sydney lord mayor contender Edward Mandla bows out of race

Published On: 05/11/2015

The presumed frontrunner for the Liberal Party's bid for Sydney's Lord Mayoralty has pulled out of the race, leaving the door open for Tony Abbott's sister or a surprise candidate to try to wrest the Town Hall from Clover Moore.

Edward Mandla, a City of Sydney councillor who occupied the top spot on the party's ticket in 2012, has all but confirmed he will not be vying for the mayoral chains at the election expected next year.

"I'm pretty sure I won't be running for Lord Mayor," said Cr Mandla, who was elected president of the party's Sydney branch on Tuesday night. Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

Cr Mandla cited his five board director roles - the latest taken this week - the upcoming birth of his seventh child and the demands of the role as the reasons behind his decision.

"I've watched the Lord Mayor really carefully over the last six months and while I think she's very stale in a policy area, she does chair 12 committees, and she's at every single ribbon cutting and she's delivering four to five speeches per week," Cr Mandla said. "I just don't think that's me."

Cr Mandla's change of heart spells an end to the looming "showdown" with his fellow Liberal councillor, Christine Forster, the sister of former Prime Minister Abbott. City of Sydney Councillor Christine Forster.

Cr Forster still plans to be among those seeking party preselection and the chance to topple Cr Moore, Sydney's long-reigning independent.

"I'm sure it will be a very competitive field," Cr Forster said.

Other Liberal contenders are yet to emerge, but the 2016 election is already shaping up as a landmark poll. It will be the first contested under new rules mandating a higher business vote and in the wake of potential changes to the city's borders.

It also comes amid a greater federal focus on cities under the leadership of Mr Abbott's replacement, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Mr Turnbull's wife, Committee for Sydney chair and former lord mayor Lucy Turnbull, has also been tipped to head the state government's new strategic planning super agency, the Greater Sydney Commission.

Cr Mandla said five candidates stood for Liberal preselection in 2012 when Cr Moore was expected to win but "there could be 20 candidates" if the City of Sydney merged with some of its neighbours.

"If it moves east, my goodness, there's a lot of people out in that direction," Cr Mandla said.

"A lot of ex-Woollahra councillors, a lot of ex-Woollahra mayors. Ex-Randwick mayors. You've got everything."

Whether or not Cr Moore chooses to run remains the other great variable of the poll.

Cr Moore, who turned 70 last month, told Fairfax Media "it would be premature for anyone to announce they're running in next year's local elections".

"It's not even clear if the elections will happen next year, and no one knows what they're running for while the State Government is threatening disruptive amalgamations or boundary changes," Cr Moore said.

At this stage, many of Cr Moore's supporters anticipate that she will opt to run for another term.

However, consideration has also been given to what other candidates might be suitable, should the high-profile independent choose to retire.

Sydney lord mayor contender Edward Mandla bows out of race

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