Page last updated at 16:28 GMT, Wednesday, 17 June 2009 17:28 UK

Election separation plan passed

Ballot papers
More than 140,000 ballot papers were declared invalid in the election

A new law requiring Scottish Parliament and council elections to be held on different days has been passed by MSPs.

The move came in the wake of the 2007 Scottish election fiasco, when more than 140,000 ballot papers were rejected.

The measures, contained in the Scottish Local Government Elections Bill, were a key recommendation of the independent Gould review into the problems.

It is hoped the move will eliminate voter confusion.

The 2007 poll saw the public being asked to use three different voting systems in two different elections.

Delayed ballot

Scottish Parliamentary Business Minister Bruce Crawford said it was right for council elections to be given their proper place, rather than being overshadowed by national elections on the same day.

The next council ballot will now be delayed by a year, until 2012.

Scottish Conservatives first called for the elections to be separated as far back as 2001.

The UK Government has so far not been persuaded by continuing Scottish Government calls to devolve powers, so that the Scottish Parliament has powers over the running of Holyrood elections.

That was one of the key recommendations of the Calman Commission review of devolution, which published its report earlier this week.

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