Counting is set to resume in the Scottish Parliament election on Saturday, as an SNP majority hangs in the balance.
On Friday 48 of the 73 constituency results were declared, with the SNP taking 39 seats, Liberal Democrats four, Conservatives three and Labour two.
The SNP picked up key seats in Edinburgh Central, Ayr and East Lothian.
However under Holyrood’s proportional representation system, those successes could see the party lose out on the regional list which make up the remaining 56 seats.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, traditional overnight counts were abandoned in favour of a longer counting process over a number of days to allow for social distancing.
The SNP need 65 seats to achieve an outright majority in the Scottish Parliament, and if successful, could see the party call for a second independence referendum.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said on Friday that she would offer Scots “the choice of a better future” in a second independence referendum “when the time is right”.
Seat-by-seat results (After 48 of 129 seats declared)
- SNP – 39
- Lib Dems – 4
- Conservatives – 3
- Labour – 2
- Greens – 0
- Other – 0
On Friday, Labour’s Jackie Baillie held on to her Dumbarton constituency – which had been the most marginal seat in all of Scotland and a top target for the SNP.
Baillie had a majority of just 109 from the 2016 Scottish Parliament election, but increased that to 1483.
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar lost out to Sturgeon in Glasgow Southside but said he was pleased to increase his party’s share of the vote in the constituency.
Labour’s Daniel Johnson held Edinburgh Southern on 20,760 votes to SNP candidate Catriona MacDonald’s 16,738.
But Labour’s Martin Whitfield lost East Lothian to the SNP’s Paul McLennan.
Former Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw increased his majority in Eastwood as did Oliver Mundell in Dumfriesshire.
Rachael Hamilton also held Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire for the Tories, although with a reduced majority.
The Scottish Liberal Democrats retained all four of their constituency seats with leader Willie Rennie increasing his majority in North East Fife, as did Alex Cole-Hamilton in Edinburgh Western.
However there was disappointment for the party in Caithness, Sutherland & Ross and Shetland – which they failed to take from the SNP.
Elsewhere, former first minister and Alba Party leader Alex Salmond said the measure of his party’s success would be “our existence as a political party”, adding it is “here to stay”.
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