How will the votes stack up at Midlothian count?

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The people of Midlothian will today (Thursday) take to the polls to pick the councillors they want to represent them for the next five years.

The local authority has been run by an SNP-led administration for the past five years, but it’s anybody’s guess as to who will come out on top when the results are announced tomorrow, with a final result expected at 2pm.

It might not be party politics that holds the balance of power, with five independent candidates standing; the biggest of whom are the two SNP councillors set to stand as independents - Andrew Coventry in Midlothian West and Jim Bryant in Dalkeith.

Newtongrange Community Council chairman Jason Ferry (Midlothian South) and Mayfield Community Council chairman Robert Hogg (Midlothian East)are also independent candidates.

Making up the five is George McIntyre, the former Conservative candidate sacked last month for comments made on social media five years ago.

Another interesting angle is the supposed resurgence of the Conservatives in Midlothian, particularly following the strong ‘No’ vote (56.3 per cent) in the 2014 independence referendum.

With Nicola Sturgeon ruling out any SNP-Conservative council administrations, could there be a Labour-Conservative coalition formed?

It seems incredible to even think of that possibility in what was until recently a Labour heartland, but Midlothian now has two SNP MSPs, as well as its first ever SNP MP.

Could the election today lead to the further downward spiral of Labour locally, or will they make a dramatic return to power?

And how will the SNP will be judged following their first ever term in charge of Midlothian?

Could they increase their number from eight to the ten needed for a majority and therefore not rely on outside support, as they had from outgoing independent Peter De Vink?

The only party to field two candidates in each of the six wards, the SNP are obviously confident of achieving that overall majority and with it a clean sweep in Midlothian.

And lets not forget the Greens, for whom Ian Baxter became their first Midlothian councillor in 2012 – they will be hoping to at least hold on to his seat and possibly add to it.

While, the Liberal Democrats have put forward two experienced heads for election, former councillors Ross Laird in Midlothian West and Ken Brown in Penicuik.

Go to www.midlothianadvertiser.co.uk on Friday for the election results.