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Voters go to the polls in local elections
8:38am Thursday 3rd May 2012 in Winchester
After months of frenzied local campaigning, buffeted by national events, candidates now face an anxious wait until the results are declared tonight and tomorrow.
Some 128 councils are holding elections across England, with some or all of the seats up for grabs.
In Southampton, voters will decide who will run the city council for the next two years, as there are no elections next May.
Eighteen seats across all 16 city wards are up for grabs. The Conservatives hold 25 of the 48 seats on the council but are defending 14. Labour have 19 seats, needing to six gains to take power. The result will be closely watched nationally.
Tories are the ruling party in Winchester but are deadlocked with the Lib Dems on 27 seats. Nineteen of the 57 seats are up for grabs but Lib Dems are defending 12, twice as many as the Tories.
Lib Dems hold 38 of the 44 seats in Eastleigh. With 15 seats up for election they will still be in power tomorrow, but their local record will be tested amid nose diving national opinion polls for the party.
Fifteen seats are also up for grabs on Fareham council, with Conservatives holding 23 and the Lib Dems on 7. Twelve Conservative seats are being defended, opening up a possibility for a Lib Dem victory.
Gosport is putting 17 of its 34 seats up for election, where the Conservatives run the show with 23 councillors. Lib Dems and Conservatives are also slugging it out for Portsmouth.
Referendums on creating elected mayors are due to take place in 10 English cities, while London, Liverpool and Salford are electing mayors. The polls open from 7am to 10pm.