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Last Updated: Monday, 24 September 2007, 16:29 GMT 17:29 UK
New co-leader for Scottish Greens
Robin Harper and Alison Johnstone
The leadership team will be confirmed later in the year
The Scottish Greens have announced a new co-leader, following the party's disappointing election result.

Edinburgh councillor Alison Johnstone was nominated unopposed as one of the two co-conveners, replacing Shiona Baird, who lost her Holyrood seat.

Robin Harper, who was returned as an MSP, was also nominated as the other half of the leadership team.

The Scottish Greens, who had seven MSPs in the last parliament, hoped to win 10 or more seats but ended up with two.

Confirmation of the selection will require approval by members' ballot, the results of which will be announced at the party's annual conference in November.

Next phase

Mr Harper said the Green vote had been squeezed in a "policy free" fight between Labour and the SNP, although they managed to avoid the complete wipe-out suffered by the other smaller parties.

He said: "Alison's election as a councillor is a mark of the huge success we had in the local council elections and it is fitting that this is also recognised by her nomination as co-convener."

Ms Johnstone, one of eight Greens elected to local government in May, is a former athlete, having run for Scotland in the 800 and 1,500 metres.

"I am certain that the Green Party will grow and attract more support as the other parties reveal themselves to lack the ambition to really change course from business as usual when it comes to the crunch," she said.

The new leadership team now plans to take the party into its next phase, by building on its successes in the council elections and seeking to stage a Holyrood revival in four years' time.


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