Scottish elections 2021 results: Nicola Sturgeon has positive day, but majority likely out of sight

The SNP are set for a thumping victory at the Scottish Parliamentary election once the final votes are counted on Saturday, but the chances of an overall majority are slim.

It was overall a positive day for the SNP matching the party’s expectations and in some cases exceeding them.

In Ayr and East Lothian, previously held by the Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Labour respectively, there were significant gains for the SNP.

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The former, John Scott’s seat since 2000, was a likely gain at the start of the day, but the SNP will have been delighted to win it outright, even if just by 170 votes.

First Minister and SNP party leader Nicola Sturgeon at the count for the Scottish Parliamentary Elections at the Emirates Arena, Glasgow. Picture date: Friday May 7, 2021.

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East Lothian was another likely gain and one the SNP succeeded in winning, but the victory of both seats have a double-edged sword, with the triumphs leading to fewer seats likely to be gained on the regional list in the South Scotland region.

Edinburgh Central was a key symbolic target and the margin of victory for Angus Robertson provided a clear indication that pro-independence voters as well as pro-union voters were willing to tactically vote.

Other key seats – Eastwood, Edinburgh Western and Edinburgh Southern – were a disappointment for the SNP, with the party requiring at least one of them for an overall majority to be more likely than not.

Always on the target list, tactical voting most likely deprived them of the seats.

Dumbarton – held by Jackie Baillie – was on a knife-edge, but narrowly retained by the Scottish Labour politician. It had been key to the chances of an overall SNP majority.

All hopes of an SNP majority now lie with Aberdeenshire West, Galloway, and a list seat in the Highlands and Islands.

Should the SNP win both and hold on to all of their other seats, they will be set for an overall majority with 65 seats.

Given Dumbarton was held by Labour, those chances are now more unlikely than not and the SNP will likely end up with 63 or 64 seats in total.

For the SNP to be set for another five years of government is an astonishing result and with the Scottish Greens the party is guaranteed to hold a pro-independence majority.

The most likely result is that we are set for five more years of more of the same.

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