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Hotel Guide for Edinburgh

United Kingdom - Government and politics - Info

Government and politics

As capital of Scotland, Edinburgh is host to the national unicameral legislature, the Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Parliament Building, in the Holyrood area of Edinburgh, opened in September 2004. The Scottish Executive, the devolved government of Scotland, has offices at St Andrew's House on Calton Hill in the city centre, and Victoria Quay in Leith. Bute House on Charlotte Square is the official residence of the First Minister of Scotland. The city has hosted a number of international events, such as Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and the Council of Europe. Apart from elections to the Scottish Parliament, politics in Edinburgh are evident in elections to the City of Edinburgh Council and the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. For elections to the European Parliament, Edinburgh is within the Scotland constituency.

Local government

Edinburgh constitutes one of the 32 council areas of Scotland and, as such, is represented by the Edinburgh City Council, a local authority composed of 58 elected councillors, each representing an electoral ward in the city. The council is led by the Lord Provost. Of the 58 council seats, 30 are held by the Labour Party, with that party therefore in control of the administration, as it has been for a number years now. The current Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Lesley Hinds (who replaced Eric Milligan on May 8, 2003), and the current Majority Leader of the Council, Donald Anderson, are both Labour Party members. There are also 14 Liberal Democrat councillors, 13 Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party councillors and one Scottish National Party councillor. General elections to the council are held on a four year cycle, the next being due in 2007, with polling on Thursday 5 May. At present, councillors are elected from single-member wards by the first past the post system of election. For the 2007 election, however, as a result of the Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004, multi-member wards will introduced, each electing three or four councillors by the single transferable vote system, to produce a form of proportional representation.

Scottish Parliament

In elections to the Scottish Parliament (Holyrood), the city area is divided between six of the nine constituencies in the Lothians electoral region. Each constituency elects one Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) by the first past the post system of election, and the region elects seven additional MSPs, to produce a form of proportional representation. Five of the six Edinburgh constituencies, Edinburgh North and Leith, Edinburgh Central, Edinburgh Pentlands, Edinburgh South and Edinburgh West, are entirely within the city area. Musselburgh, in East Lothian, is included in the sixth, Edinburgh East and Musselburgh. Boundaries date from 1999, and the creation of the Scottish Parliament itself.

Parliament of the United Kingdom

In elections to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (Westminster), the city area is divided between five first past the post constituencies, all entirely within the city area, and each electing one Member of Parliament (MP): Edinburgh South, Edinburgh West, Edinburgh South West, Edinburgh North and Leith, and Edinburgh East. Boundaries date from 2005.