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The Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Parliament is the devolved national legislature of Scotland. The Parliament sits in Holyrood, an area of the capital city of Edinburgh.

The Scottish Parliament is a democratically elected Parliament that represents the people of Scotland, the Parliament passes legislation and holds the Scottish Government to account.

The Parliament have power and control over a number of devolved matters from Westminster. These include:

  • Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
  • Education and Training
  • Environment
  • Health and Social Services
  • Housing
  • Law and Order
  • Local Government
  • Sports and the Arts
  • Tourism and Economic Development
  • Transport
  • Limited Taxation powers

Following a referendum in 1997, in which the Scottish people voted for devolution, the current Parliament was convened by the Scotland Act 1998. This act sets out the powers of the Scottish Parliament as a devolved legislature. The Act separates the legislative competence of the Parliament – the areas in which it can make law – by explicitly specifying powers that are reserved to the Westminster Parliament. The first meeting of the new Parliament took place on 12 May 1999.

The full range of powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament can be accessed via the links below. These cover the Scotland Act 1998 and the Scotland Act 2012.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/46/contents

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2012/11/contents/enacted

May 2016: Elections

The 2016 Scottish Parliament election will be held on Thursday 5th May 2016. The Scottish people will elect 129 members to the Scottish Parliament. The 2016 election will be the fifth general election in Scotland since the Parliament was created in 1999.

The Scottish Parliament uses the Additional Members System, a form of electoral proportional representation for each region. There are eight regions, each of them are sub-divided into smaller constituencies. There are seventy-three constituencies in total. Each constituency elects one Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) through the traditional first past the post system of election. Then, each region elects an additional seven MSPs using the Additional Members System. Each voter has two votes in the Scottish elections.

Four political parties; The Scottish National Party, the Scottish Labour Party, the Scottish Conservative Party and the Scottish Liberal Democrats are fielding candidates in all constituencies. The Scottish Green Party are contesting all regions and four constituencies. The Scottish Libertarian Party are contesting three regions and just one constituency.

The United Kingdom Independence Party are contesting all regions as are the Respect, Independence, Socialism and Environmentalism Party. Other minor parties and Independents are contesting a small number of regions and constituencies. 

Information provided under Public Open Licence

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