MSPs and councillors could serve five-year terms under SNP plans

Michael Russell announced the changes.
Michael Russell announced the changes.
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The time between elections held in Scotland could be increased by a year under new proposals.

Legislation has been published by the Scottish Government to extend the period between parliamentary and local government elections from four to five years.

The move will mean that MSPs and councillors will serve for five-year terms, instead of four.

It is hoped that by extending the time period, there is less likelihood to be any clashes with UK general elections.

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The reforms, if agreed, should be implemented in time for the Scottish Parliament election in 2021 and local government elections in 2022.

If passed, the legislation would also allow all 14-year-olds to register to vote ahead of them reaching the voting age of 16, as well as prohibiting people from voting in more than one area in local elections - mirroring the law in Scottish and UK Parliament elections.

Government Business and Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell said: "This Bill invites debate over how Scotland runs its local and national elections.

"The proposal to extend parliamentary and council terms to five years is fully intended to prompt discussion and investigation - it is my hope that we can find a robust consensus on the issue.

"It also provides a basis on which the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee can take evidence.

"Overall the Bill, using powers under the Scotland Act 2016, will make a range of substantial improvements to critical areas of our civic and national life."