The Scottish National Party has held three of the first four constituencies declared in the Scottish Parliament election.
Counting of votes in some 46 of the 73 constituency seats in Scotland began at about 9am on Friday morning, and it is anticipated all 46 should be declared by Friday evening.
This year’s election is considered to be one of the most important since the Scottish Parliament opened in 1999.
The Liberal Democrats have held the Orkney constituency in Scotland – the first to declare in the Scottish Parliament election.
Liam McArthur will return to Holyrood to represent the safe seat after claiming 7,238 votes. The Scottish National Party (SNP) was in second place with 3,369 votes, followed by the Scottish Conservatives on 699 and Scottish Labour on 290. A total of 11,621 votes were cast, 65.4 per cent of the electorate.
Minutes later, the SNP held Aberdeen Donside, with councillor Jackie Dunbar taking the seat previously filled by Mark McDonald – who resigned from the party after allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards women.
Ms Dunbar won 18,514 votes, defeating the Scottish Conservative candidate on 9,488, with Labour taking 5,505 votes and the Lib Dems 2,162. Turnout was also up by more than seven percentage points in the Aberdeen constituency, at 57.8 per cent.
The SNP went on to hold the Western Isles seat, with sitting MSP Alasdair Allan returned for Nicola Sturgeon’s party, polling a total of 7,454 votes.
They also held the Clydebank and Milngavie seat, with newcomer Marie McNair elected to replace Gil Paterson, who stepped down from Holyrood. Ms McNair was successful after securing 17,787 votes.
With the SNP set for another five years in government, first minister Nicola Sturgeon will no doubt ramp up the pressure on Westminster to grant the powers for another vote on Scottish independence.
Her opponents in the Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties have stressed the importance of focusing on Scotland’s recovery from coronavirus instead. But the SNP leader and her party have said no referendum will be held until after the immediate health crisis is over, and they insist powers gained through independence would improve the recovery in Scotland.
Ms Sturgeon has said another pro-independence majority in the Scottish Parliament, including the Greens and Alba Party seats, should be enough to let Scots vote again on whether they want to leave the UK. – PA