[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 4 May 2007, 15:09 GMT 16:09 UK
Timeline: Scottish elections 2007
Polls for the Scottish parliamentary and local authority elections close with reports that turnout could be as high as 60%. However, concerns quickly begin to emerge over the high number of spoilt ballot papers

Here is a summary of key events so far.

FRIDAY, 4 MAY 1732 BST

Confirmation that the Scottish National Party has broken Labour's eight-year dominance of the Scottish Parliament.

The Nats emerged from the election with 47 seats, one more than its rival.

The Tories ended up with 17, the Lib Dems with 16 and the Greens two while Independent Margo MacDonald is returned to the new parliament.

Speculation begins about an SNP/Lib Dems/others coalition but a stumbling block could be the Nats' plans for an independence referendum.

FRIDAY, 4 MAY 1536 BST

Three successes in quick succession for the SNP, as Jim Mather wins in Argyll and Bute, increasing the Nationalist vote by 15% to overturn the 4,196 majority previously enjoyed by Liberal Democrat candidate George Lyon in 2003.

The SNP also win Edinburgh East and Musselburgh from Labour, with Kenny MacAskill improving the party's vote to 11,209, also an increase of 15% from last time.

While SNP candidate Angela Constance unseats Labour's Bristow Muldoon, who was defending a majority of 3,670, from Livingston. She wins with a majority of 870, casting Mr Muldoon into second place.

FRIDAY, 4 MAY 1501 BST

Deputy Health Minister Lewis Macdonald holds Aberdeen Central with a reduced majority. Mike Pringle of the Liberal Democrats successfully defends his Edinburgh South constituency.

FRIDAY, 4 MAY 1337 BST

Good news for Labour as they reclaim Strathkelvin and Bearsden from Independent Dr Jean Turner, who won the seat in 2003 as a hospital campaigner. David Whitton's majority is 3,388 for Labour with the SNP moving into second place.

Labour also takes three of the seven seats in the Mid Scotland and Fife list, with the Conservatives also winning three and the SNP one.

FRIDAY, 4 MAY 1254 BST

Two big names hold their seats for the SNP, with Roseanna Cunningham and former leader John Swinney winning Perth and North Tayside respectively with increased majorities.

FRIDAY, 4 MAY 1208 BST

Another big SNP gain from Labour as the Western Isles constituency falls to the Nationalists. Dr Alasdair Allan defeats Alasdair Morrison, who had previously held the seat, with a majority of 687, a swing of 5.43% to the SNP. The turnout is just over 58% with 446 rejected ballots.

FRIDAY, 4 MAY 1135 BST

Results begin to trickle in again as counting resumes in several seats around the country. The South of Scotland regional list is finally confirmed, with the SNP winning five seats and the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives one each.

FRIDAY, 4 MAY 0900 BST

A spokesman for the Electoral Commission confirms it will carry out an investigation into what has gone wrong with the electoral process.

The spokesman says: "In particular, it will be focusing on the reasons for the high number of rejected ballots, the electronic counting process and the arrangements for postal voting."

FRIDAY, 4 MAY 0854 BST

Aberdeenshire returning officer Alan Campbell says Scottish Executive ministers had ignored advice to delay the count.

He tells BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "All the returning officers in Scotland did recommend to Scottish ministers that we, in fact, start this whole count process on Friday morning rather than on Thursday evening.

"Our advice was rejected. People have done their best, but clearly this is a new system and there will be occasional glitches. Staff have not worked on this before."

FRIDAY, 4 MAY 0802 BST

While the chaos surrounding the parliamentary count continues to attract most attention, Labour is losing overall control of several local authorities in the central belt, including Midlothian, East Lothian and Clackmannanshire.

FRIDAY, 4 MAY 0800 BST

The result of the Scotland Central regional vote is declared, with the SNP wining five seats, the Conservatives one and Liberal Democrats one. Among the SNP victors are Alex Neil and Linda Fabiani. The result means the SNP return two more MSPs from the region than last time.

Both the SSP's Carolyn Leckie and John Swinburne, who had been the Scottish Senior Citizen's Unity Party's only MSP, lose out.

FRIDAY, 4 MAY 0721 BST

The Scotland Office issues a statement claiming the E-counting system is "working well" and assures voters the results of all the declared results are accurate and final.

However, a spokesman says the Scotland Office shares concerns about the high number of rejected ballots and promises that the independent Electoral Commission will investigate "as a matter of urgency" delays in postal ballots, the high number of spoiled ballot papers and the performance of the electronic counting machines.

FRIDAY, 4 MAY 0721 BST

Labour's Allan Wilson, the former deputy enterprise minister, loses at Cunninghame North to the SNP's Kenny Gibson.

FRIDAY, 4 MAY 0540 BST

The first regional vote to be declared is Glasgow which sees Solidarity's Tommy Sheridan failing to win selection. Bashir Ahmad becomes the first Asian MSP as the SNP scoop four seats.

FRIDAY 4, MAY 0520 BST

Technical difficulties intensify as the count in Eastwood is suspended. Problems are also reported in Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

There are also delays in results in Livingston and Linlithgow, and Perth and Tayside North.

FRIDAY, 4 MAY 0500 BST

Liberal Democrat leader Nicol Stephen holds onto Aberdeen South seat with a much reduced majority of 2,732.

FRIDAY, 4 MAY 0430 BST

Observers increase their criticism of the huge number of votes being rejected. Officials announce that the Strathkelvin and Bearsden count will be suspended after further problems with vote counting. Trouble with counts in Edinburgh are also being reported.

The Strathkelvin and Bearsden count is called to a halt after problems at the DRS central data centre are identified. Ballot boxes from Lennoxtown and Bearsden are not returned to the count, resulting in it being stopped. The count is scheduled to recommence at 1200 BST.

FRIDAY, 4 MAY 0410 BST

Labour hold Renfrewshire West with a majority of 2,178 for Trish Godman. The seat is contested by Conservative leader Annabel Goldie who polled in second place, increasing her share of the vote by 4.2%.

FRIDAY 4 MAY 0310 BST

The SNP take both Stirling and Govan from Labour. Sylvia Jackson is unseated by Bruce Crawford in Stirling, while Nicola Sturgeon secures her place in the new Scottish Parliament by beating Gordon Jackson by 744 votes.

FRIDAY, 4 MAY 0300 BST

Alex Salmond wins the Gordon constituency from the Liberal Democrats' Nora Radcliffe with a majority of 2,062. Mr Salmond attacks the voting system which he says resulted in the high number of rejected ballots which have been a feature of the night.

FRIDAY, 4 MAY 0200 BST

Questions begin to emerge over the high number of rejected or spoilt ballot papers being recorded in constituencies up and down the country. The number of spoilt ballot papers in Airdrie and Shotts is 1,536, just 90 higher than Labour's majority.

THURSDAY 3 MAY 0110 BST

The first Scottish National Party gain of the night is Dundee West. The seat is taken from Labour with a swing of 6.1%. The SNP's Joe Fitzpatrick wins the seat with a majority of just 1,946. There are 913 rejected ballots.

FRIDAY, 4 MAY 0030 BST

First Minister Jack McConnell is re-elected as the Labour MSP for Motherwell and Wishaw in the first result to be declared. The defending first minister wins the seat with 12,574 votes but he sees his majority reduced from 9,259 to less than 6,000, with a 6.9% swing to the SNP.

THURSDAY, 3 MAY 2300 BST

Fog prevents a helicopter from collecting ballot boxes from Barra and Uist The weather results in the marginal Western Isles count being delayed until 1000 BST on Friday. Votes will now be ferried to neighbouring Uist before being delivered to the main count on Stornoway.

THURSDAY, 3 MAY 2230 BST

Within half an hour of polls closing, reports surface of a man being arrested at a polling station in Edinburgh after brandishing a golf club. He is removed from Carricknowe Church on Saughton Road North by police after destroying ballot boxes and tearing up ballot paper.

THURSDAY, 3 MAY 2200 BST

Polling places up and down the country close their doors after 13 hours of voting.




RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific