Bargaining and bartering will be going on this week in the corridors of power in Ceredigion County Council after the election results claimed the head of leader Keith Evans but left no party in overall control.
Plaid Cymru gained 19 seats – including those of Cabinet members Eurfyl Evans and Carl Williams.
“We’ve had some spectacular gains but also some very sad losses,” said Plaid leader Elin ap Gwynn.
One of Plaid’s surprise losses was Ian ap Dewi of Penbryn, who lost out to Independent Gwyn James.
Keith Evans, who lost his Llandysul seat to Plaid’s Peter Evans, was philosophical about the result.
“You don’t go into politics unless you are prepared to lose as well as win,” he said.
“Plaid were gunning for me and put a lot of effort into the campaign,”
But he said that the controversial 3-19 school in the town was not an issue on the doorstep.
He added that the new council faced tough times ahead.
“Things are tough and will get tougher still. People want more services but are reluctant to pay for them. There’s also a reluctance to change within the council chamber but hard decisions have to be made.”
After 27 years in local politics, including six years as leader, Mr Evans said he was bowing out.
He also was debating whether to keep his seat on the town council.
“People have voted against me and I don’t know whether I will carry on,” he said.
Tributes were paid to his leadership by Cabinet colleague Gethin James who comfortably held onto his Aberporth seat with a 282-vote majority.
“Keith will be sadly missed, Ceredigion is going to be a lot poorer without the wealth of experience he brings to the table,” he said.
The Independents and Liberal Democrats joined forces to lead the county in the last council session. Plaid Cymru, with 19 seats, are the largest party and Ellen ap Gwynn said discussions would be had with the new Independent members.
“Doors are open,” she said.
In Carmarthenshire, Newcastle Emlyn’s Hazel Evans of Plaid Cymru was returned with a huge 573 majority while in Llangeler Plaid Cymru’s Ken Howell saw off a challenge from Indpendent John Wigley.
In Pembrokeshire council leader John Cwmbettws Davies safely kept his seat with a 700 vote majority over Plaid rival Kett Seymour and St Dogmaels county councillor Mike James was returned with a 683-vote majority over Plaid’s Adam Herriot. Newport voters with a choice of five candidates returned Independent Paul Harries. Huw George wa s returned in Maenclochog and in Crymych Independent Ken Lewis saw off the challenge from Plaid’s Cris Tomos.