The political make-up of Scotland’s 32 local authorities for the next five years should be known by Friday evening. With counts getting underway at 9am, here are four wards which could shape who takes power in the biggest cities.
This east end ward will be among the first to be declared on Friday morning. In 2012, Labour returned three of the four councillors here - including council leader Frank McAveety, who is standing again and is likely to top the Labour vote.
But if the SNP can increase their representation from one to two - as many Nationalist activists expect - they will simultaneously wipe out Labour’s chances of securing another majority in the city and be on their way to taking power.
Two of the city’s longest-serving councillors, Steve Cardownie and Allan Jackson, are standing down in this ward, as is Labour’s Vicki Redpath.
Both Labour and the SNP have put up two candidates, as they did in 2012. Top of the poll last time was Labour’s Cammy Day who is sure to get back in.
But it could be more difficult for the party to hold on to its second seat.
Allan Jackson had the second biggest vote last time and the Tories are confident they have enough votes in areas like Trinity to secure a seat for replacement Jim Campbell.
Forth is one of five wards in Edinburgh that will now return four councillors instead of two.
VICTORIA PARK, GLASGOW
This new ward in the west end takes in much of Partick along with Whiteinch and leafy Jordanhill. With a diverse population that includes students, pensioners and a sizable immigrant community, predicting an outcome could be difficult - but expect to see the SNP’s Fergal Dalton, who won the old Partick West ward in 2012, returned once again.
Labour is only standing one candidate, Maggie McTernan, in the ward, while the Nationalists are also standing Deirdre Parkinson. The Greens, meanwhile, have high hopes Allan Faulds can prevail.
But with just three seats available, someone is going to be disappointed. If Labour can squeeze home, returning one councillor along with one from the SNP and Greens, it could dent the Nationalists’ chances of winning an overall majority.
PENTLAND HILLS, EDINBURGH
Five candidates are competing for three seats in this ward where Labour and the SNP polled almost equally in 2012.
Back in 2007, the Lib Dems got two councillors elected here – the other was former group leader Jenny Dawe – but the party’s share of the vote collapsed from 45 per cent to 18.8 per cent. Nevertheless Cllr Aldridge, who has been on the council since 1984, is expected to be re-elected.
Labour’s Karen Keil, who has a long track record as a community activist before being elected as a councillor, is also likely to get back, although the Tories are pinning their hopes on Mark Brown, who has been a candidate several times before.