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ON Thursday, May 5, Powys goes to the polls to elect new councillors.

Counting the votes and announcing the results will take place on Friday, May 6.

And possibly over the weekend, after some horse trading, residents will know who will be leading Powys County Council and who will be on the cabinet top table to take the major decisions for the authority.

With a population of just under 130,000, Powys is a vast rural area which with low population density.

The main towns are Brecon,  Newtown, Welshpool, Machynlleth, Llandrindod Wells and Ystradgynlais.

The last council elections in 2017, saw political parties make inroads into the traditional dominance of the independent councillors.

The Conservatives gained nine seats, and soon after in the by-election for the Yscir ward gained a tenth.

This saw them with 20 of the 73 councillors.

In 2017 the Liberal Democrats gained wards taking them up to 13 councillors, Labour dropped from eight in 2012 to seven councillors in 2017.

Plaid Cymru had two councillors elected and the Green party one – both parties had no representatives in 2012.

Independent councillors topped the polls in 30 wards.

But this was 18 independents less than 2012.

The Independent formed a group and then joined forces with the Conservative group to run the council as a coalition with a healthy majority of 13 more than the 37 required to rule.

However, a lot can happen in five years and by the end of the council term, the situation had changed drastically.

Splits in both the Independent and Conservative groups had occurred seeing significant change of numbers.

Councillors left these groups to form new ones or sit alone as non-aligned councillors.

The Green party representative worked with both Plaid Cymru and Liberal Democrat during the council term before leaving that party to join Plaid Cymru late last year.

Labour and Liberal Democrat had gained a councillor each in by-elections held in 2019 at the expense of the Conservatives.

When the council met in February and March to push through this year’s budget, the Independent/Conservative administration was a minority coalition of 35 councillors, and the Liberal Democrats had become the biggest party affiliated group in the council.

The Independent group had 23 councillors, Liberal Democrats 14, Conservative group 12, Labour eight, Action for Powys seven, Plaid Cymru three, New Powys group two, and there were three non-aligned councillors including one Conservative who stayed with the party but not the official Powys council group.

The Gwernyfed ward was left vacant from the New Year following Cllr James Evans victory in the 2021 Senedd Elections.

The boundary changes brought in this year means that five less councillors will be elected this year with the numbers dropping from 73 to 68.

The changes see some wards knocked together to form one bigger ward, and also an eight multi-member wards created where voters will get the chance of voting for two candidates.

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