7 May 2011

Scottish nationalists gain huge election win

4:02 pm on 7 May 2011

The Scottish National Party has won a majority of seats for the first time in elections to the Scottish parliament.

The historic win is expected to be used to push for a referendum within five years on whether Scotland should become independent from the United Kingdom, the BBC reports.

Party leader and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said the party's majority win was not just a victory for a single political party, but one for a "society, a people and a nation."

The SNP now has a clear majority of four in the 129-seat Scottish Parliament, enough votes to hold an independence referendum.

The party's campaign manager, Angus Robertson, told the BBC that Scotland had a right to more autonomy.

He said it wanted to make its own decisions on its economy or whether to send its young people to war, though it would remain under the monarchy and there would be open borders and shared services.

Labour fall short in Wales

Labour failed by one seat to win a majority in the Welsh Assembly. The Conservatives gained two seats to 14, but Plaid Cymru lost four and the Lib Dems lost one.

Early results show that the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein will remain the biggest parties in the Northern Ireland Assembly. However, there was anger from both nationalist and unionist politicians that the system used in Northern Ireland was far slower than the rest of the UK for producing results.

As counting centres closed on Friday night, with 39 of the province's 108 MLA's elected, the DUP has 16 seats, Sinn Fein 14, the SDLP 3, the Ulster Unionist 3, and the Alliance 3.

The final results will be announced on Saturday.

Labour also held Leicester South in a Parliamentary by-election with an increased majority, although the Lib Dems hung on to second place. Sir Peter Soulsby, whose decision to stand down triggered the contest, won the contest to be Leicester mayor.

The Conservatives formed a coalition with the Liberal Democrats after the May 2010 general election.