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AMMANFORD, Llanelli and Carmarthen are once again likely to be key battlegrounds in the council elections in Carmarthenshire next month.

There are plenty of seats to be had in what are the three largest population centres in the county.

The Amman Valley – Ammanford in particular – has been the subject of some intense exchanges in council debates in recent months, and Plaid and Labour have focused resources there in the run-up to the elections.

The Amman Valley, from Tycroes to Brynamman, comprises seven wards. Ammanford will have two councillors rather than one from next month onwards.

Plaid have held sway in this part of the county since 2017, with Labour having two councillors and the Independents one.

Llanelli town’s five wards have a larger mix of political representation after some Labour councillors became New Independents in 2019. Labour has four councillors in these wards, the New Independents three, and the Conservatives one. An unaffiliated Independent completes the mix. This time round Llanelli’s Bigwyn ward will have three councillors, not the current two.

The county town of Carmarthen has also had a ward boundary redrawn. Carmarthen Town South and Carmarthen Town North have had two councillors each, but only three councillors will represent what will be the new Carmarthen Town North and South ward. Carmarthen West retains its two councillors.

Plaid secured five of the six available seats for the county town in 2017 but lost one to the Independents in 2020, while Labour has the remaining councillor.

Voters will choose 75 councillors – one more than currently – in Carmarthenshire, so 38 will give a party a majority. Up until now there have been 58 wards but the number has been reduced following a review by Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales, although some have partially merged to form new ones. The review was to try to ensure a more equal voter-councillor ratio.

Plaid Cymru, with 36 councillors, has been running the council in coalition with the Independents, which secured 16 seats in the 2017 election. Labour was returned with 22 seats in 2017. Sixteen councillors are standing down at the forthcoming elections.

All wards across the county will, of course, have a bearing on the outcome of the election. Whether national politics has an influence of voters’ choices remains to be seen. Turnout is local elections tends to be lower than in general elections – last time round it was 42% across Wales.

Plaid is fielding 58 candidates in Carmarthenshire, Labour 47, the Conservatives 17, Liberal Democrats 11, Wales Green Party two, pro-independence party Gwlad two, Propel one and the Breakthrough Party one. There are also 40 Independent and New Independent candidates.

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