Voters have decisively rejected plans to create the first directly-elected mayor in Wales.
The turnout for the referendum was higher than had been expected
In a referendum people voted three to one against a move to create west Wales' equivalent of London mayor Ken Livingstone.
The result, declared at 0100 BST on Friday at Aberaeron Leisure Centre, saw 5,308 people in favour of the proposal and 14,013 against.
Turnout was higher than expected - at 36% - and the result clear cut.
Those backing the No campaign in Ceredigion claimed a mayor would have too many powers - which went far beyond those of a traditional, more ceremonial mayor.
The No campaign had the backing of the major political parties and after the result was declared supporter Elin Jones said she was overjoyed.
"I'm glad the people of Ceredigion voted against this unnecessary move," she said.
"The only way to alter the situation is the proper way in three weeks time with the local elections.
"It was an exercise resulting in unnecessary costs."
But Yes campaigner Dr Felix Aubel dismissed the result.
"People voted heavily for a No vote because all the major party machines in Ceredigion threw everything into a No campaign," he said.
The referendum was called after campaigners collected 8,500 names on a petition.
It followed protests against plans to build 6,500 new homes in the county.
The campaigners claimed the houses would destroy the local environment, and damage the Welsh language.
But opponents of the mayor proposal said one person with so much influence over policy would be dangerous for the county.
No campaigner Dafydd Morgan Lewis, from the Welsh Language Society, said only directly-elected councillors could change the unitary development plan.
"We have seen in Ceredigion in the last four years a dictatorial system of government has worked.
"And if the mayoral system had been agreed, it would have been the introduction of a new feudalism - so I'm very glad it has been rejected."
Voters in Ceredigion will now go to the polls again for the European and local government elections in three weeks time.
Yes campaigner Simon Brooks said he respected the decision of the people of Ceredigion.
"We fought this for democracy after all," said Mr Brooks.
"We are disappointed but we nearly got 30% of the vote so it wasn't a landslide.
But he said it was a worthwhile experiment, and had opened the doors for a similar move in other parts of Wales.
"If people feel that the council system is failing them, then they can always take this path.
"Ok, we lost in Ceredigion, but it was the first. Maybe something like this could succeed in other parts of Wales".