It's official: Plaid has invited councillors who can sign up to its manifesto to join it in forming a new unity administration for the county (see statement here).
The wording is interesting. It does not talk about a coalition with another party, and is instead asking individual councillors from across the political spectrum to join it in running the show. Of course, that does not preclude a coalition if all members of one or other group decide that they can sign up to the aims set out in Plaid's manifesto, and there can be little in the manifesto that either Labour or the Independents could object to, although some aspects of it would mark a departure from the policies pursued by the previous Independent-Labour coalition (for example, the implementation of the Modernising Education Plan).
In reality, policies will almost certainly not be the major factor in deciding the outcome here. Kevin Madge is eyeing up Meryl's job as council leader, and all of the signals he has put out over the last few weeks would seem to indicate that he is in no rush to abandon his Independent friends. There will almost certainly also be external involvement in the Labour group's decision, with anti-Plaid figures such as Peter Hain to be consulted.
Plaid's best hope would therefore seem to lie with the Independents. It needs to secure 10 extra votes to take control, and perhaps offers of jobs might be enough to swing it.
Ironically, the Independents were the biggest losers in the election, and yet they may emerge the biggest winners as Plaid and Labour enter a bidding war for their favours.
For what it's worth, my money is on a new Labour-Independent coalition, cynical travesty of democracy though that would be. It never stopped them before though, did it?
I hope I am proved wrong.
Update Plaid's Carl Harris tweeted a short while ago that Labour and the Independents met at 9am yesterday to discuss matters. The meeting room was apparently booked over a week ago.