In a statement issued at 10.40pm last night, Donald Manford said this on behalf of the SNP group on the Islands:

"In advance of tomorrow's election, the SNP group is making clear our intentions towards the future administration of the Comhairle. 

"Following democratic elections, governments nationally and locally are formed by the organisation or group obtaining the overall majority.

"Where no overall majority exists - to avoid non-administrations or covert cabinet outcomes -  a duty falls to the largest openly elected group to seek to form an administration consistent with the policies on which they were elected.

"The SNP group commits to respect this principle; seeking common purpose with elected colleagues on these policies, as set out in our published manifesto.

"This election is not a trivial matter. The Comhairle is by far the single biggest employer in the Isles and shapes our direction of travel in terms of so many different areas.

"It seems likely this election will return a variety of members with diverse views on how to take our islands forward. This is to be welcomed. Democracy only functions properly when everyone can feel that their views are represented.

"What has not been good for democracy has been the selection of past administrations. Islanders quite rightly feel disengaged and disenchanted with this process. If the principles of transparency and accountability to one's electorate are to underpin the decisions members take, then something has to change.

"This is the time for change. We seek to work together in the interests of all the communities we look to represent. We hope that - after Thursday - we are met in the chamber by those who share this outlook.