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But the combined parties are still unlikely to have the 32 seats they would need for an overall majority, so they could also seek a less formal deal with one of the other parties to help them gain power and support them. on key issues.
The count takes place at the Edinburgh International Conference Center and the results for each of the city’s 17 wards will be announced at regular intervals throughout the day, with the full picture due to be known by late afternoon.
The SNP are confident of retaining their position as the biggest party on the council and had hoped to add one or two to the 19 seats they won last time out. But a so-called lower turnout in the last municipal elections in 2017 makes the results harder to predict.
The Tories, who won the largest share of the vote in 2017, were expected to back down, mainly due to Boris Johnson’s unpopularity and anger at Partygate. One source has suggested the party could be reduced from 18 councilors to 15 or 16. Labor’s performance is expected to be much the same as last time when they won 12 seats.
The Lib Dems, who currently have six seats, were optimistic about electing additional councilors in at least two of their target wards, Drum Brae/Gyle and Corstorphine/Murrayfield, and possibly also Almond where they are aiming for a third seat in all four. -member district. The Greens also hoped to increase their numbers, particularly in Inverleith.
A renewal of the existing SNP-Labour coalition seems unlikely given Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar’s stance against the party’s involvement in formal coalitions. Instead, he pleaded for the parties to work together on an individual basis.
But the Greens have frequently backed the current administration in crucial votes and the party is partnered with the SNP at Scottish government level, making them the natural choice for a deal.
An SNP insider said: “The Greens and ourselves have already effectively agreed that this is the obvious option to go. But it will depend on how demanding the Greens think they are entitled to be. .”
It is understood that the SNP has a negotiating team, including group leader Adam McVey, housing manager Kate Campbell and transport manager Lesley Macinnes, ready to engage in talks.
However, another source said the Greens were reluctant to enter a coalition if it did not constitute a majority as it would risk being defeated in every vote. The new partnership could therefore seek the support of another party. Given the SNP’s ban on making deals with the Tories, they would turn to the Lib Dems or Labour.
Some believe that despite Anas Sarwar’s opposition to coalitions, the Edinburgh Labor leadership would be ready to agree a deal short of a coalition, which could still involve at least some administration posts .
But there is likely to be opposition among local Labor activists to anything that ties the party back to the SNP. And some of the candidates who are expected to be elected are also said to be opposed to too close an association with the SNP.
Labor group leader Cammy Day could be challenged for his position when the newly elected council group meets for the first time after the results are known.
There is also speculation about who will become Lord Provost. SNP advisers Cathy Fullerton, Denis Dixon and Norrie Work are all said to be interested in the role. But the position may need to be offered to another party as part of an agreement to gain their support. Greens Steve Burgess and Susan Rae were mentioned. Or if a minority SNP-Green coalition seeks to entice Labor or the Lib Dems into an informal deal, it could go to Labor’s Joan Griffiths or Lib Dem leader Robert Aldridge, who is the longest-serving member of the council. .
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