News In Depth
Lib Dems battered at Scottish polls
The Liberal Democrats were the big losers in the council elections, with the leader of Edinburgh City Council one of those voted out of office.
The Scottish National Party won more councillors than any other party, but Labour also enjoyed successes as it regained majority control of the country's largest local authority.
Despite a keenly fought contest with the nationalists, Labour secured an overall majority on Glasgow City Council, while in the capital it won most councillors.
Meanwhile Alex Salmond's SNP celebrated forming its first ever majority administrations under the single transferable voting system, in Dundee and Angus councils.
And in Dundee, every single one of the 16 candidates the nationalists put up was elected.
However Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie admitted it had been a "very distressing day" for his party.
In 2007 the Lib Dems were the third party of local government with 166 councillors, and the party was involved in 13 coalitions across Scotland.
It now has just 71 councillors, with Jenny Dawe, who had been council leader in the capital, the highest profile Lib Dem casualty.
Overall a total of 424 SNP councillors were elected across Scotland, compared to 394 for Labour and 115 Tories. There were also 14 Green councillors voted in.
In Edinburgh the Liberal Democrats saw the number of councillors they had reduced from 16 to three.
Labour had 20 councillors, ahead of the SNP's 18, 11 Conservatives, and six Greens
One of the main issues for voters in the capital was the controversial tram scheme, with many of the spoiled ballots featuring the word "trams" in opposition to the project.
Pentland Hills Lib Dem candidate Stuart Bridges even came behind Mike "Professor Pongoo" Ferrigan, an independent climate activist who visits schools dressed as a penguin.
Meanwhile in Glasgow just one Lib Dem was elected. Labour had 44 councillors voted in, the SNP 27, the Greens got five, while the one Tory councillor in the city held his seat.
Mr Rennie - who took over as leader after the Lib Dems suffered heavy losses in last year's Holyrood election - said his party had "lost many, many strong community activists who have stuck up for their area for many long years".
While both the Liberal Democrats and the Tories endured a bruising night south of the border, Mr Rennie said the results "should dispel any myth that the Liberal Democrats are only in the coalition for ourselves".
He insisted the coalition with the Conservatives at Westminster "has always been about doing the right thing for the fortunes of the country".
He also claimed there were still "many strong Liberal Democrat councillors who will join the rebuilding process for the party".
Mr Salmond said his party were the overall victors, insisting: "With over 420 councillors, an increase of around 60 on 2007 and double the lead over Labour the SNP has won Scotland's election."
The First Minister hailed the result as a "a great win for the SNP and for Scotland" and added: "Five years after backing the SNP for the first time Scotland continues to move forward with the only national party. That is a substantial achievement.
"The SNP has won seats from Labour, from the Lib Dems and from the Tories in all parts of Scotland, urban and rural. We set ourselves the target of securing more councillors and we have met that target with around 60 extra councillors."
He also claimed the council elections were a "tale of two governments", contrasting the fortunes of the coalition at Westminster with his Holyrood administration.
Mr Salmond said: "The Lib Dems and Tories have had a disastrous day, feeling the full force of the Scottish people who have rejected their damaging austerity agenda in favour of the SNP locally and nationally."
However Glasgow council leader Gordon Matheson claimed the nationalist "juggernaut has rolled into a ditch".
And Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said her party had had "a very good day" after it increased its number of councillors from 2007.
She added: "Last year the Scottish people sent us a clear message that we had to up our game, that we had to put their interests before the party's interests.
"Today we have taken a major step forward in rebuilding faith in us."
Ms Lamont said: "If last year was a tsunami for the SNP, perhaps now the tide is going out on Alex Salmond."
New Tory leader Ruth Davidson was also positive, despite her party returning fewer councillors than in 2007, when it had 143.
She said her party had "seen a number of gains in councils across Scotland" and said: "We are now heading towards becoming the third party of local government in Scotland for the first time since 1992.
"We are the largest party in the Borders and South Ayrshire, and we will play a pivotal role in forming a number of administrations across Scotland."
what do you think?
I think that they were shown the way, because they are a waste of space
The Lib/Dems battered by polls. Its a pity it wasn't poles. In my opinion they are useless bags of bob awe. Liberal Demics.