Fife’s longest serving councillor has been elected as leader of the SNP group.
David Alexander stepped into the role following the shock defeat of Neale Hanvey in Friday’s count.
And the Levenmouth councillor will now be a key player in the negotiations to decide which party governs Fife.
The SNP topped the election with 29 seats, while Labour took 24, and the old adversaries are now considering a coalition to govern the Kingdom for the next five years.
Informal talks are on-going and, if they reach a conclusion, it’d mean the Tories being frozen out despite claiming some 15 seats.
Cllr Alexander said: “With my experience as chair of Levenmouth Area Committee I’ve shown how a conciliatory approach can work and I’ll bring that to the leadership.
“The funding available for public services in Fife exceeds £1 billion. With these substantial resources and a determination to use money wisely, an SNP-led Fife Council would work with all its partners and the Scottish Government to increase efficiency and enhance services for people in the Kingdom.”
Karen Marjoram, who represents Cupar, will continue as deputy leader of the SNP group.
She said: “With many years of experience, David knows the workings of the council and will be a strong pair of hands to take Fife forward.”
Both SNP and Labour have ruled out a formal coalition with the Tories, with Cllr Marjoram going so far as to vow ‘‘over my dead body.’’
Informal talks are still going on between the parties, and it may take some time before all the horse trading is concluded.