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banner Thursday, 21 September, 2000, 09:48 GMT 10:48 UK
Attention turns to key SNP ballots
Leadership graphic
John Swinney and Alex Neil will go head to head
As the Scottish National Party prepares to elect a new leader attention is turning to the selection process.

John Swinney and Alex Neil have declared themselves as leadership hopefuls, while Kenny MacAskill and Roseanna Cunningham have announced that they will run for the post of deputy leader.

At the party's annual national conference in September, votes will be cast for a number of senior posts - including national convener and senior vice convener, or leader and deputy leader respectively.

The voting system is a straightforward alternative vote. Delegates rank their preferred candidates one, two, three and so on.

If no candidate wins an absolute majority then the person who comes last has their votes redistributed to the candidate marked as second preference on their ballot papers.

The votes will be counted on 23 September
Eligibility for voting is a little more complicated, because the party does not operate a one member one vote system.

The system is open to a combination of constituency and branch representatives, MPs, MSPs and MEPs, affiliated organisations like the student wing, elected members of the national council and other office bearers.

In total, around 800 delegates will have a say this September on who leads the party into the general election.

Other facets of the system include:

  • Delegates only have one vote each

  • Every constituency association has four delegates.

  • Each branch within a constituency is entitled to two delegates for its first 50 members - or part thereof. For each additional block of 50 (or part of 50) members they get another delegate - put simply the more members, the more votes a branch has.

  • Sub-branches of 10-25 members have one delegate each.

  • Four affiliated organisations can each send six delegates - Federation of Student Nationalists, Young Scots for Independence, Association of Nationalist Councillors and trade union groups.

  • MSPs, MPs, MEPs have one vote each.

  • 30 elected members of the national council each have one vote.

  • 24 members of the national executive committee - the party leader, deputy leader, vice conveners and office bearers - also have a single vote each.

On Saturday, 23 September, all the votes will be counted and the result declared.

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See also:

28 Jul 00 | Scotland
MacAskill gets into gear
27 Jul 00 | Scotland
SNP leadership contest clearer
27 Jul 00 | Scotland
SNP members take sides
26 Jul 00 | Scotland
John Swinney: My message
26 Jul 00 | Scotland
Alex Neil: My message
25 Jul 00 | Scotland
SNP leadership race narrows
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