Scottish Parliament Elections

The Scottish Parliament uses the Additional Member System (AMS) to elect its Members of Scottish Parliament, this is seen as a more proportional system than FPTP.

AMS combines elements of First Past the Post where voters mark an X next to the candidate they want to represent them in their constituency, and proportional representation, where voters select from a list of candidates for each party who represent a larger regional constituency. This helps to overcome the disproportionally often associated with First Past the Post elections.

Under AMS, each voter typically gets two votes – one for a candidate and one for a party.

Each constituency returns a single candidate, in the style of First Past the Post. The votes for the party list candidates are then allocated on top of these constituency seats to ‘top up’ the number of seats won by each party to represent their share of the votes proportionally.

(Source: Electoral Reform Society)


The Scotland Act 1998 created a Scottish Parliament and passed to it the powers to make laws on a range of issues. These powers were extended by the Scotland Act 2012.

Devolved powers are aspects of policy that are controlled by the Scottish Parliament, retained powers are managed by the government in Westminster, these are generally policies that effect the whole of the UK.


Devolved Powers

Agriculture, forestry and fisheries
Education and training
Health and social services
Law and order (including the licensing of air weapons)
Local government
Sport and the arts
Tourism and economic development
Many aspects of transport

Retained Powers

Benefits and social security

Foreign policy
Trade and industry
Nuclear energy, oil, coal, gas and electricity
Consumer rights
Data protection
The Constitution

Source: YourVoteMatters ‘Why young adults in Scotland are voting in the 2017 Local Elections’.

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Political Parties in Scotland

 Scottish Liberal Democrats

 Scottish Green Party

Scottish Labour Party

Scottish National Party

Scottish Conservatives

Exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.” They campaign on issues such as high speed rural broadband & bus services.”
“The Scottish Green Party is part of a growing global movement committed to a more equal and peaceful world, and to safeguarding the world’s environment. ” Key issues include; Ecology, Equality, Peace and Non-Violence. They seek to create a political system that “enables individuals to control the decisions that affect their own lives.”
“A centre left party which grew out of the trade union movement and is committed to achieving a fairer, a more equal and a better Scotland. It believes in creating opportunity for all, ensuring the vulnerable and elderly get the care and security they deserve and building a prosperous economy that allows us all to share in the rewards.”
Left-leaning nationalist party. “The SNP is a social democratic political party committed to Scottish independence.  The party has been at the forefront of the campaign for Scottish independence for over seven decades.” “Vital health services kept local; more support for small businesses; and fairer local tax.
“A patriotic party of the Scottish centre-right which stands for freedom, enterprise, community and equality of opportunity. We are a party of choice, localism, low taxation and strong but limited government.” “Believe that people, not government make decisions that are best for themselves, their families and communities.”


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