(1) The Minister may, by order published in the Gazette, postpone the election requirements of this Act in relation to a specified council if--(a) the council is the subject of--(i) an investigation under section 430 or any other provision of this Act, or(ii) a public inquiry, or(iii) an investigation by an authority (as defined in the Dictionary at the end of this Act) under any Act, or(b) without limiting anything else in this subsection, a matter affecting the boundaries of the council's area is under consideration by the Boundaries Commission (whether or not involving an inquiry by the Commission).
(2) The latest date to which the election requirements of this Act may be postponed by an order under this section is--(a) the date occurring 12 months after the order is made, or(b) if the postponement is extended by a further order under this section, 31 December in the calendar year following that in which the first such order was made.
(3) An order may be made under this section even though the election requirements of this Act are in operation with respect to an election for the council.
(4) On the making of an order under this section--(a) the election requirements of this Act are suspended in relation to the council for the period specified in the order, including with respect to an election for which the election requirements of this Act were in operation when the order was made, but not with respect to an election held on or before the day on which the order is published, and(b) the retiring councillors continue in office (subject to this Act) until an election is held, and(c) anything already done, under or for the purposes of those requirements in relation to the council for an election that would (but for the making of the order) have been held during the suspension period, has no effect or operation, and(d) a person who is taken to have been elected under section 311 at an election that would (but for the making of the order) be held during the suspension period is taken not to have been elected.
(5) The suspension ceases to have effect if the order is revoked under section 318C.
(6) If the suspension ceases to have effect through the passage of time and not through revocation of the order, the provisions of section 318C (other than subsections (1)(a) and (3)(a)) apply as if the order had been revoked.
(7) If while an order under this section is in force a casual vacancy occurs in the office of mayor elected by the electors, the casual vacancy is to be filled in accordance with the provisions of section 295 as if it were a casual vacancy in the office of mayor elected by the councillors.