Scottish Election 2016
SNP leader rules out coalition as Tories build and Labour flops
But the SNP will be forced to govern as a minority administration as the Conservatives emerged as the second biggest party in the 129-seat parliament. Ms Sturgeon ruled out forming a coalition with another party.
The SNP won 63 seats, the Conservatives 31, Labour 24, Green 6, and Liberal Democrats 5. The SNP required 65 seats for a majority. The Conservatives gained 16 while the SNP will have 13 fewer seats.
Tory leader Ruth Davidson overturned the SNP in Edinburgh Central while Labour leader Kezia Dugdale had to rely on the regional list to be re-elected.
The SNP won all eight seats in Glasgow – including four from Labour – with Ms Sturgeon holding her Glasgow Southside seat with a majority of almost 10,000 votes.
She said it was “a vote of confidence in the record in government of the SNP”. She later said she would not see an agreement with another party in order to have a working majority.
Ms Davidson said: “I hope the message that was resonating was of being a strong opposition, to hold the SNP to account, to saying no to a second independence referendum, to respect the decision that our country made, and to really focus on the things we’re paying a government to focus on, on schools, on hospitals, on public services.”
Deputy Tory leader Jackson Carlaw re-captured the Eastwood seat, defeating Labour’s Ken Macintosh in a constituency held by Labour since 1999.
The collapse of the Labour vote will once again raise questions about the leadership and the party’s future in Scotland.
Ms Dugdale said she was “heartbroken” but insisted she will stay on to fight for her supporters in parliament. She said: “This election was always going to be tough for Labour.” She added: “It has been a very bad night for Scottish Labour.”
She said that her determination to move the debate on from the constitution will have cost Labour votes.
Oliver Mundell, the son of the Scottish Secretary David Mundell, took Dumfriesshire.
Former Labour leader Johann Lamont lost in Glasgow Pollok to the SNP’s Humza Yousaf. Labour also two lost seats to the Conservatives. However, it won Edinburgh Southern from the SNP.
The Liberal Democrats surprised those who expected it to struggle. It won two seats from the SNP including North East Fife where party leader Willie Rennie re-captured the seat from Rod Campbell.
The overall turnout is expected to be higher than the 50.4% of the electorate who voted in the last election in 2011.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, speaking after securing a victory in a by-election in Sheffield, said the party would “walk hand in hand” with colleagues in Scotland.
Mr Corbyn, who had been criticised for making only brief visits during the campaign, said: “We are with you” and congratulated the party for its “determination”.