Plaid Cymru had some stunning successes at the start of County Council election night in Ceredigion - including defeating the Council Leader - and can legitimately be said to have won the election by remaining by far Ceredigion’s largest party. However the evening was ultimately disappointing for Plaid as they finished with 19 out of the 42 seats, one fewer than they had begun with and not enough to take overall control of the Council. The Lib Dems lost two of their nine seats, both Cabinet Members, bringing them down to seven, whilst the Independents increased theirs' by three to 15.
The night began with three shock Plaid wins over sitting members of the Council Cabinet:
* Council Leader Keith Evans (Independent) lost to Plaid’s Peter Evans in Llandysul.
* Mark Strong beat Lib Dem Cabinet Member Carl Williams in Aberystwyth North.
* Bryan Davies defeated Eurfyl Evans, another Lib Dem Cabinet Member, in Llanarth.
Things were looking good for Plaid until a series of surprise losses:
* Dai Suter, a good mate of mine, lost his previously safe seat in Trefeurig to an Independent.
* Long-standing Plaid councillor Ian ap Dewi lost to an Independent in Penbryn.
* Euros Davies (Independent) won in Llanwenog over Plaid, following the retirement of the previous Plaid councillor Haydn Richards.
Better news came in Aberystwyth Penparcau where Plaid’s Steve Davies and Lorrae Jones-Southgate were both elected in their two-seat ward following the retirement of the two previous councillors Rob Gorman (Plaid) and Goronwy Edwards (Independent), representing a net gain for Plaid.
Other councillor changes were:
* Llanfihangel Ystrad – Lynford Thomas won for Plaid following the retirement of the previous Plaid councillor Owen Llywelyn.
* Troedyraur - Maldwyn Lewis (Independent) won here following the retirement of another Independent, Roy Griffiths.
All other ward councillors remained the same, including this one in Aberystwyth Bronglais, where I managed to win with 89% of the vote against Chris Newcombe, a very gracious Conservative.
At the end of the night the totals were:
Plaid Cymru 19 (down 1)
Independents 15 (up 3)
Lib Dems 7 (down 2)
Labour 1 (same)
Six women were elected, an improvement of one. Full results can be seen here.
At least one Independent (Aled Davies in Aberystwyth Rheidol, previously a councillor for Plaid) has said he will remain genuinely independent and will not join a bloc with others.
With no overall majority and the loss of the former Council Leader, negotiations will have to take place before a new administration can be formed.