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Overview

The Scottish Parliament represents the people of Scotland. It has the power to make decisions and pass laws in certain areas, known as devolved matters. This includes areas such as health, education and economic development.

The UK Parliament can still make laws for Scotland, but will usually get the consent of the Scottish Parliament first.

The UK Parliament it still responsible for areas known as reserved matters. This includes, defence, foreign affairs and immigration, for example.

Find out more about the Scottish Parliament

Representation

There are 129 elected Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs), and you are represented by eight of them. One MSP is for your constituency, and the other seven are for your region.

The eight electoral regions are:

  • Central Scotland
  • Glasgow
  • Highlands and Islands
  • Lothian
  • Mid Scotland and Fife
  • North East Scotland
  • South Scotland
  • West Scotland

Who can vote in these elections

Voting in these elections

Scottish Parliament elections take place every five years.

Scottish Parliament elections use the Additional Member System. At these elections, you have two votes. 

With the first vote, you choose between candidates standing for election in your constituency by putting a cross [X] next to your choice. 

Then, you cast a second vote to choose a political party or independent candidate to represent your region. You put a cross [X] in the box next to your choice of political party or independent candidate. 

Last updated: 14 April 2021
Next review: 12 April 2022

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