Local elections: Polls close and candidates face waiting game

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The polls have closed – and Fife’s political hopefuls face a restless night before finding out their fate.

The 2017 local election count doesn’t get underway until Friday morning, with all 22 wards being counted at Rothes Halls in Glenrothes.

Results are expected to start flowing around late morning or lunchtime, with hopes of the process being completed around 4.00 p.m.

But whether that delivers a clear verdict on who runs the runs the region for the next five years is open to debate.

The theatre has hosted many nights of drama - but none with such a political theme to them.

The counting process is scheduled to start at 8.30 a.m. after a briefing from Steve Grimmond, Returning Officer, and Fife is shaping up to be a fascinating contest.

Labour seized power from the SNP five years ago, but the nationalists are making a big push to reclaim control at Fife House.

And neither is certain of an outright majority.

Labour is standing on an ultra local campaign based on its record of achievements while in power, and the SNP is promises a better-run administration that will make the region’s economy stronger.

But if neither gets the seats it needs to govern, then the hard bargaining will begin almost immediately … if it hasn’t already started.

And the balance of power could rest with one, or more, of several groups.

The Lib Dems previously backed the SNP in coalition in Fife, and their core heartland in the north-east could be crucial to the composition of the new administration.

But the winners may also have to factor in the Tories who are looking to gain a bigger share of the vote, and also the rise of independent candidates. The Greens are also standing in every ward, making the single transferable voting system open to a huge number of permutations.

>> We will be reporting live from the count throughout the day.

For updates, visit Fife Today

We will have live video reports and regular bulletins on our Facebook pages – and on Twitter, you can follow @GazetteNeilH and @Fifefreepressed for all the latest news, and rumours, from the count.