The city council in New York has voted to extend the limits on the officials' terms of office, allowing Mayor Michael Bloomberg to run for re-election.
Mr Bloomberg was due to stand downafter his second term in office, which under current rules would be his last, at the end of next year.
The billionaire businessman had asked for the law to be overturned.
He said the financial crisis on Wall Street and his record as mayor meant he deserved the chance to re-run.
The 51-member city council supported the change by 29 votes to 22.
Twice during the 1990s, voters voiced their support for limiting city politicians to a maximum of eight years in office.
But the BBC's Matthew Wells in New York says many on the council were also approaching the end of their second four-year terms and the mayor was favoured to get his way.
Now the two-thirds of council members who have had to step down at the November 2009 elections will be able to stand for re-election.
Mr Bloomberg earlier denied that backroom deals had been made, and said the economic downturn was the main factor.
"Given the events of recent weeks, and given the enormous challenges we face, I don't want to walk away from a city I feel I can help lead through these times," he said earlier.
"If the voters don't like what they've seen they will vote for someone else, and that's as it should be."
Mr Bloomberg changed his party affiliation earlier in the year from Republican to Independent, and even toyed with the idea of entering the presidential race during the contentious primary election season.
His business background and strong management of the city's services have translated into consistently high approval ratings, our correspondent says
6 months ago