The SNP has challenged Labour not to “prop up the Tories” across local authorities by forming coalition administrations with the Conservatives.
Due to the way the STV voting system works, no party is expected to win an overall majority of seats in almost all of Scotland’s 32 councils.
That means several days of political horsetrading can be expected once final results are declared on Friday, with two or three party deals likely.
The SNP has already ruled out forming any coalition with Ruth Davidson’s party, and has accused Labour of so far avoiding the issue.
“We will not put austerity-obsessed Tories into power in council chambers across Scotland,” said the party’s business manager, Derek Mackay MSP.
“We will not give them a free pass to inflict further damage and deeper cuts on our communities and local services.
“And as the Tory party veers further and further to the right, my challenge to the Labour party is this - don’t prop up the Tories any longer.
“Don’t give them a free hand, don’t let them put our schools and services at risk and don’t let them drive Scotland’s communities backwards.
“If Labour can’t make that commitment then they will simply continue on their current trajectory towards electoral oblivion.
“Whatever the results across Scotland, the SNP will never become the enablers of Tory cuts.”