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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 May 2007, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
Start of new parliament postponed
Holyrood chamber
MSPs must elect a new presiding officer to succeed George Reid
The new presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament will not be elected until next week, it has been announced.

MSPs will be sworn in on Wednesday, but Holyrood must elect a presiding officer at its first meeting.

The MSP who takes up the position cannot vote in parliament and this is said to be causing issues for the parties following the election result.

A motion is to be put forward which will allow the Scottish Parliament to meet on 14 May.

Out-going Presiding Officer George Reid said: "After discussion with the main parties it has been agreed that parliament will vote on a motion to adjourn the first meeting until next Monday afternoon.

We support the suggestion that the presiding officer election should be delayed until Monday
Jack McConnell
Scottish Labour leader

"Given the election result, it is right that members have enough time to consider nominations for prospective candidates."

The election saw the SNP win 47 seats in the 129-member parliament, one seat more than Labour.

The Scottish Tories have 17 seats, the Scottish Liberal Democrats have 16 and the Greens two.

Scottish Labour Leader Jack McConnell said party MSPs had not taken a decision on whether one of their number should make a bid to become presiding officer.

"We support the suggestion that the presiding officer election should be delayed until Monday to give the parliament time to select the right person," he said.

Jack McConnell
Jack McConnell has backed the postponement

"That's a sensible move given that George Reid is in position until that election takes place."

Mr McConnell added: "I think it would be accurate to say that there are many members of the group who feel that the new presiding officer should come from one of the smaller parties."

Independent Margo MacDonald, who was re-elected, has considered putting her name forward for the position.

Under the Scotland Act, parliament must meet within seven days of an election, making the current deadline 15 May.

Parliament will also be tasked with electing deputy presiding officers.


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