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Friday, May 7, 1999 Published at 15:59 GMT 16:59 UK

Scots head for coalition rule

Dennis Canavan: Joy and sorrow

Labour has emerged as the biggest party in the new Scottish Parliament but has fallen nine seats short of winning an overall majority.

Vote 99 Special Coverage
Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown confirmed on BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he wants his party to form a coalition with Labour to produce a working majority.

"What I want to see is stable government for Scotland, I think that's what Jim Wallace wants to see, I suspect that's what Donald Dewar wants to see and I'm certain that's what Scottish voters want to see," he said.

The BBC's Carole Walker: "There is much talk of the new style of partnership politics"
Labour won 53 of the 73 first-past-the-post constituency seats; the Liberal Democrats 12; the Scottish National Party seven and the Conservatives none. One independent was voted in.

It was a different story in the regional lists, which were decided by a form of proportional representation.

The Scottish National Party won 28 of the 56 top-up seats; the Tories 18; the Lib-dems five and Labour three. The Scottish Socialist Party won one, as did the Scottish Greens.

Dennis Canavan, who became Scotland's first independent MP since 1959 by winning Falkirk West, had been ditched by Labour during the selection process for the new parliament.

Dennis Canavan: "I hope there can be a reconciliation"
In his victory speech Mr Canavan said: "The brilliance of my victory is tinged, a wee bit, with sorrow.

"But I do hope that some reconciliation might be possible as long as there is an understanding that on my part there will be no compromise on the principles and policies which I have always held dear and which I used to think that the Labour Party also held dear."

[ image:  ]
"This campaign has not been a campaign simply against a discredited selection system which brought the Labour Party into disrepute.

"It has been a positive campaign on principles and policies."

Mr Canavan also said he would consider the timing of his resignation as an MP at Westminster, in a move which will result in a by-election.

Donald Dewar: We've done it again, and we'll do it again and again and again"
The first minister in waiting, Labour's Donald Dewar, comfortably won his Glasgow Anniesland seat with 16,749, a majority of 10,993.

In his victory speech, he quoted the first six words of the Scotland Act: "There shall be a Scottish Parliament" and said that with those words, Scottish politics "are forever changed".

[ image: Donald Dewar:
Donald Dewar: "There shall be a Scottish Parliament"
"I am proud, and my party is proud, to be associated with that change. With these six simple words Scotland is a very different place."

In the Orkney Islands constituency, Liberal-Democrat leader Jim Wallace was returned with 6,010 votes, a majority of 4,619 over the Tories.

Jim Wallace: "It's what we achieve that counts"
He told the BBC there would be no surprises in the terms of any negotiations undertaken between him and the biggest party in the parliament.

The Lib-Dems' demands would be in line with the policies set out in the party's manifesto.

Mr Wallace said negotiations on a partnership programme would take place this weekend then the question of cabinet ministers would be addressed.

In Banff and Buchan, SNP leader Alex Salmond was safely returned with 16,695 votes.

[ image: Alex Salmond:
Alex Salmond: "New era"
He immediately declared: "We are at the dawn of a new era for Scotland. Nothing will ever be the same again in Scottish politics."

The Scottish Conservatives' leader David McLetchie missed out on seat in the first-past-the-post election in Edinburgh Pentlands.

The Lothian regional list declaration was delayed until Friday afternoon and more than 17 hours after the election count began, he was finally confirmed as an MSP.

Lord Steel, the Lib-Dem peer who is tipped to become the parliament's first presiding officer (speaker), also won a seat from the Lothian list.

Govan joy

There was joy for Labour in Glasgow Govan, where Gordon Jackson beat SNP high-flyer Nicola Sturgeon. Ms Sturgeon later won a place in the parliament on the top-up list.

Mr Jackson shrugged off the controversy which surrounded sitting Westminster MP Mohammed Sarwar to win with a majority of 1,756.

Peter Snow attempts to forecast the final result in the Scottish elections
Govan was considered a possible soft underbelly in Glasgow heartland, and doubts over the party's prospects were heightened by the recent troubles at the world famous Kvaerner Govan shipyard.

But Labour lost Aberdeen South to the Liberal Democrats' Nicol Stephen, who once served briefly as MP in Kincardine and Deeside.

[ image: Tom McCabe: Scotland's first MSP]
Tom McCabe: Scotland's first MSP
The SNP fared better in Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber - one of its target seats - where Fergus Ewing emerged as victor.

South Lanarkshire Council leader Tom McCabe made history in Hamilton South by becoming the first Member of Scottish Parliament - a post which carries a 40,092 salary.

Tom McCabe: "We must commit ourselves"
The result was declared at 2315 on Thursday, 75 minutes after the polls closed around Scotland in an election which many voters ignored.

Mr McCabe took the seat in the constituency ballot, securing 14,098 votes and winning with a majority of 7,176. Turnout was 54.8%. Mr McCabe secured 54.21% of the vote.

Colin Blane reports on the first appointment in the elections
In his winning speech, he recalled the words of the late Labour leader John Smith by saying: "This parliament is indeed the settled will of the Scottish people.

"The parties have an obligation to commit themselves to making this parliament work for Scotland."

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