The Scottish National party on Friday appeared on track to easily remain the largest party in the devolved parliament at Holyrood in Edinburgh, but it was unclear from early results whether it would win a majority of the chamber’s 129 seats.
Final results of Thursday’s Scottish parliamentary elections will be confirmed on Saturday, with only 46 of its 73 first-past-the-post constituency seats scheduled to be declared on Friday.
Early results suggested the SNP would maintain its dominance at Holyrood, but swings in some seats to Labour and the Conservatives suggested tactical voting by opponents of its cause of Scottish independence.
Scotland’s proportionally representative voting system, in which voters also choose which party to back for 56 regional list seats, makes it extremely difficult for a single party to win a majority.
“A majority has always been a very, very long shot,” Nicola Sturgeon, SNP leader and Scotland’s first minister told the BBC.
“I’m feeling extremely happy and extremely confident that we are on track in the SNP for a fourth consecutive election victory and to have the ability to form a government again,” she said.