Council services affect every family in the city and directly touch the lives of every Edinburgh resident.
The outcome of the election means that there is no obvious coalition for providing Edinburgh with the strong and stable leadership needed in the coming years.
Surprising suggestions of a Labour/ Conservative coalition show just how fractious the political landscape now is.
In fact, there are bright and able people in all of the political groups on the council, but a council of all the talents looks unlikely.
Labour will be keen to make the most of its position as the largest and leading party to form a ruling administration.
Whatever happens, Edinburgh needs strong leadership, and quickly. The tasks are formidable. An urgent relaunch of the city is needed to help restore a reputation shattered by the trams fiasco. Further radical reform of council services is needed to keep those services and spending affordable in a challenging financial climate. And private investment is badly needed as success and jobs can only be delivered by creating rather than distributing wealth.
Establishing an early partnership with the business community is a top priority – as ever for the council. Pressing the case with Alex Salmond is also needed to seek the fair funding Edinburgh needs – but has never had – to bring new jobs and a better future. There is no time for personal, or narrow party agendas.
Edinburgh is one of the world’s greatest cities, and only strong and determined leadership will deliver for our city, our communities and for our people.
• Donald Anderson is a former Labour city council leader