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Friday, May 7, 1999 Published at 06:58 GMT 07:58 UK


The leaders' reactions

Donald Dewar: "We must deliver ambitions"

Donald Dewar recited the first six words of the Scotland Act after winning his seat in the Scottish Parliament.


Donald Dewer: "We did it again, and we'll do it again and again and again"
Addressing his supporters in Glasgow, the man who looks certain to become first minister, said: "There will be a Scottish Parliament."

For Mr Dewar, the words in the legislation which enshrined devolution signified the beginning of the new political reality, a new democracy for a new millennium.

Who will hold the ultimate power in that parliament is yet to be decided, with Labour unable to achieve the magical 65 seats needed for an overall majority.

But talk of coalition would come later. For Donald Dewar, a veteran advocate of devolution, it was a night to remember old friends and look to the future.

Remember the late Labour leader John Smith, a kindred spirit who saw devolution as "the settled will" of the Scottish people.

Paying tribute to his memory, Mr Dewar said: "I think he would have been very proud to see this happening now, see this parliament elected safely tonight and he would have realised that indeed the central will of the Scottish people was being achieved."

And it was time to look ahead.

In an address to the Scottish people, he said: "This is our first democratic parliament in Scotland for some 300 years, our people have waited for it, our people deserve it, we must give them what they want, we must struggle to deliver their legitimate ambitions, their hopes."

Ultimate goal


[ image: Alex Salmond:
Alex Salmond: "New era"
For Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond, leader of the second largest party at Holyrood, this was the era which would herald the moves towards the ultimate goal - independence.

He said: "We are seeing a step change in Scottish politics. Firstly a step change for the Scottish National Party, secondly and perhaps more importantly a step change for Scotland.

"We are at the dawn of a new era for Scotland, nothing will ever be the same again in Scottish politics.


Alex Salmond: "The results were good for the Scottish people"
"This new parliament will show the way forward for Scotland and each and every one of us who has had the privilege to be elected to it has a heavy burden of responsibility to make sure that the parliament works well for Scotland, builds the confidence of the Scottish people and takes this nation on to national freedom and independence."

'Two to tango'


[ image: Jim Wallace: No deal on tuition fees]
Jim Wallace: No deal on tuition fees
As the results came in, the prospect of coalition grew and the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Jim Wallace invited Labour to negotiate with him over a coalition in the new Scottish Parliament, saying: "It takes two to tango.

"We have always said that given the proportional system of voting that no party was likely to get an outright majority.

"We said in these circumstances we would be prepared to talk to the party that had the largest number of members to see if we could agree a partnership programme for government to last the four years of the Scottish parliament.

"It will now be a question - it takes two to tango - whether the Labour Party respond, or whether they may try to pursue a minority government.


Jim Wallace: "I'll do my very best for the people of Scotland"
"But I do believe that it would be better, if the Scottish Parliament is going to get off on the right footing, that we have a stable and effective administration."

He repeated his insistence that higher education tuition fees as proposed by Labour must be scrapped or his party would not deal.

McLetchie disappointed

Scottish Conservative leader David McLetchie said he was disappointed not to have won the Edinburgh Pentlands constituency seat but said that the Tory party was back, albeit via the regional lists.


[ image: David McLetchie:
David McLetchie: "We are back"
He said: "Obviously it is a personal disappointment not to be going as the Member of the Scottish Parliament for Edinburgh Pentlands.

"But I take heart from the fact tonight we have seen a major step forward for the Scottish Conservative Party. We are back.

"We will be the real unionist alternative to Labour, telling the people of Scotland there is an alternative that doesn't involve ripping this country out of the United Kingdom.


David McLetchie: "It's what you do in the job that counts"
"I started this campaign by saying we are Scottish and British, we are proud to be both, that is what we will work for in the Parliament."

He added: "We are certainly prepared to try and see if we can agree a programme for government to last four years."



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