Page last updated at 05:20 GMT, Friday, 2 May 2008 06:20 UK

Timeline: SNP first year in power

It is a year since the SNP made political history by winning the Scottish Parliament elections.

Here is a look at the ups and downs of the Nationalists' first year in minority government.

SUNDAY 27 APRIL, 2008

The Scottish and UK governments are thrown together amid a potential crisis - the strike by workers at Grangemouth, Scotland's only oil refinery.

Oil refinery strikers hold rally

Both administrations urge the public not to panic buy fuel, as arrangements are made to ship in extra supplies.

Mr Salmond makes repeated appeals for both sides in the pensions dispute to get round the negotiating table.

WEDNESDAY 2 APRIL, 2008

The world's largest prize for marine renewable energy innovation is announced by the Scottish Government.

10m marine energy prize unveiled

The 10m Saltire Prize aims to push the boundaries of research in the global fight against climate change.

Mr Salmond unveils details of the scheme on a visit to the US.

THURSDAY 13 MARCH, 2008

A Holyrood probe into the Donald Trump golf application in Aberdeenshire concludes Mr Salmond took a "cavalier" approach to his involvement with the plans.

Salmond's Trump action 'cavalier'

Holyrood's local government committee raises concern that the government decision to call in the plans, following their rejection by the local council, came after "two five-minute phone calls".

But the probe also concludes the unprecedented decision was competent.

TUESDAY 11 MARCH, 2008

Plans to replace the "unfair" council tax with a local income tax are published by the Scottish Government.

'Challenging' local tax unveiled

Finance Secretary John Swinney says introducing proposals for the 3p charge would be "challenging", in the face of a lack of parliamentary support.

Labour says the proposals will make workers in Scotland the highest taxed in the UK.

WEDNESDAY 5 MARCH, 2008

Ministers give their commitment to a new rail line between Edinburgh and the Borders - but say it will cost more than twice the original estimate.

Rail link project costs increase

Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson says the original date put forward under the previous Holyrood government was "never achievable".

Labour hits out at a move to set up a non-profit making company to pay for most of the costs.

THURSDAY 28 FEBRUARY, 2008

Environment Minister Mike Russell moves to close down a long-running row over a planning wrangle involving an SNP donor.

Planning intervention 'was right'

Ministers had contacted environment bosses after Macdonald Hotels, whose chief executive Donald Macdonald gave 30,000 to the Nationalists, threatened to scrap expansion plans for Aviemore, because of a delay.

Mr Russell said the proper action had been taken, but Labour claims ministers overstepped the mark.

THURSDAY 28 FEBRUARY, 2008

MSPs vote to scrap the graduate endowment fee, paid by students when they finish university.

MSPs vote to scrap endowment fee

It means current students and 2007 graduates will not have to pay the one-off 2,289 charge.

Labour and the Conservatives vote against abolition, after they fail to force the government into a review of university funding.

WEDNESDAY 6 FEBRUARY, 2008

The Scottish Government's budget is passed with Tory support, after ministers make several last-minute concessions.

MSPs agree to pass Scots budget

The SNP's 30bn plans go through parliament after the government agrees to boost police recruitment, business rate cuts and cash for bus operators.

Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens all abstain in the crunch vote, which also paves the way for a council tax freeze.

WEDNESDAY 5 DECEMBER 2007

After plans by US tycoon Donald Trump for a 1bn golf resort in Aberdeenshire are rejected by the local council, ministers make the unprecedented decision to have the final say.

Ministers to decide Trump plans

The government says the matter has raised issues of national importance.

Opposition parties begin questioning the conduct of the Holyrood administration - and Mr Salmond - surrounding the decision.

WEDNESDAY 5 DECEMBER 2007

Ministers announce a series of cuts in prescription charges, ahead of their planned abolition in 2011.

Staged end to prescription charge

The SNP manifesto promised to "immediately abolish" charges for people with chronic conditions, cancer and for those in full-time education or training.

Ms Sturgeon tells MSPs the charges are a tax on ill health, while Labour expresses reservations about the move.

FRIDAY 9 NOVEMBER, 2007

Glasgow is chosen to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Glasgow wins race for 2014 Games

The city had been competing against Nigerian capital Abuja for the accolade.

Mr Salmond declares: "We will make these games the greatest sporting event our country has ever seen."

TUESDAY 23 OCTOBER, 2007

Mr Salmond demands the Scottish Parliament is given powers to run Holyrood elections, after a probe into the election night fiasco says Scotland's voters were "treated as an afterthought".

Probe says May poll failed voters

In the wake of the investigation by elections expert Ron Gould, Mr Salmond blames UK ministers for the problems.

Scottish Secretary Des Browne tells BBC Scotland he is "sorry" if people were denied their vote.

TUESDAY 9 OCTOBER, 2007

The SNP clashes with Westminster by saying Scotland has received the worst economic settlement since devolution.

Row over spending review figures

The Treasury says spending will increase by an average annual rate of 1.8% over the next three years - but Mr Salmond says the true increase is 1.4%.

UK Scottish Secretary Des Browne insists the outcome of the budget and spending review is "very good" for Scotland.

THURSDAY 16 AUGUST, 2007

People in Scotland infected with viruses through blood transfusions are told by Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon a public inquiry will be held.

Sturgeon promise on blood inquiry

The inquiry will look at how people were infected with hepatitis C and HIV from NHS blood products in the 70s and 80s.

Campaigners welcome the move - saying many of those who were exposed had already died during their long fight for justice.

TUESDAY 14 AUGUST, 2007

Mr Salmond sets out plans for an independence referendum, despite opposition from the other main political parties.

SNP outlines independence plans

Launching his "national conversation" white paper, Mr Salmond set out the full range of options which will be debated.

Opposition parties point out there is not enough parliamentary backing to approve a referendum.

SATURDAY 4 AUGUST, 2007

The Scottish and UK governments once again come together after cattle at a Surrey farm are found to be infected with foot and mouth disease.

Farm infected with foot-and-mouth

A UK-wide livestock movement ban is put in place, as Holyrood ministers take quick precautions to keep the infection out of Scotland.

WEDNESDAY 27 JUNE, 2007

The Scottish government backs down over its opposition to Edinburgh's trams project, after suffering its first major Holyrood defeat.

Climbdown after transport defeat

Finance Secretary John Swinney says the trams will go ahead, but states plans for an airport rail link in the capital had "had it".

Ministers' transport agenda also includes plans for a new Forth crossing.

SATURDAY 30 JUNE, 2007

As the Queen marks the third session of the Scottish Parliament, Mr Salmond ruffles a few Labour feathers by using his speech to reaffirm his commitment to independence.

Salmond in independence promise

But he also acknowledges Her Majesty's "vital role" as Queen of Scots, during the ceremony.

Later that day, the Scottish Government faces its first major test after a flaming car is driven at the main Glasgow Airport terminal building.

Blazing car crashes into airport

As the terror threat level is raised, Mr Salmond and Prime Minister Gordon Brown join forces to ensure life goes on and security is tightened.

THURSDAY 7 JUNE, 2007

The fledgling Scottish Government has its first, predicted, brush with UK ministers, after Mr Salmond expresses concern that the Lockerbie bomber could be transferred back to a jail in Libya.

'No deal' over Lockerbie bomber

The first minister makes an emergency statement to parliament, demanding clarification on the status of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, who was tried and jailed under Scots law.

The UK Government insists a deal with Libya on prisoner exchange does not cover the Lockerbie case.

WEDNESDAY 6 JUNE, 2007

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon says decisions to close two accident and emergency units will be reversed.

A&E closure decisions overturned

The previous government had endorsed plans to close A&E units at Ayr hospital and Monklands in Lanarkshire.

But Ms Sturgeon says the health boards in those areas failed to give enough weight to concerns from local people.

THURSDAY 31 MAY, 2007

MSPs vote to scrap tolls on the Forth and Tay road bridges - after a last-minute manoeuvre which saved the government from the prospect of its first defeat.

MSPs vote to scrap bridge tolls

Ministers agree to accept a cross-party amendment not to "arbitrarily" delay or cancel major transport projects in Edinburgh.

The move comes after Mr Salmond's concerns over the viability of the an airport rail link and trams for Edinburgh.

WEDNESDAY 16 MAY, 2007

Mr Salmond becomes the first Nationalist to be elected first minister of Scotland, voted in by MSPs.

Salmond elected as first minister

He hits the ground running by naming his ministerial team and says the minority administration will seek parliament's approval "policy by policy".

During the vote, Mr Salmond sees off a final challenge from his predecessor, Scottish Labour leader Jack McConnell.

FRIDAY 11 MAY, 2007

The SNP strikes a working deal with the Scottish Greens in the Scottish Parliament.

SNP and Greens sign working deal

The move is a looser agreement than the one first floated, after the Greens express concern about the Nationalist transport policy.

But it does ensure the two Green votes to help see in Mr Salmond as first minister and support his ministerial appointments.

MONDAY 7 MAY, 2007

Liberal Democrats rule out a coalition deal with the SNP in the Scottish Parliament.

Lib Dems rule out SNP coalition

Scots Lib Dem leader Nicol Stephen says the fundamental stumbling block is the referendum.

SNP deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon urges Mr Stephen to sit at the negotiating table, but it looks increasingly likely the SNP will attempt to form Holyrood's first minority government.

FRIDAY 4 MAY, 2007

The SNP breaks Labour's eight-year dominance of the Scottish Parliament by winning 47 seats - just one more than its rival.

SNP pips Labour in Holyrood vote

Alex Salmond wins the Liberal Democrat-held Gordon seat, providing the route for his return to Holyrood - and hits out at the results process, besieged by delays and some 140,000 rejected ballot papers.

Speculation about a coalition deal to form a majority administration begins, but the stumbling block could be the Nationalists' plans for an independence referendum.


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