A second term for Nicola Sturgeon could see a cast iron term for a new referendum as Scottish voters head to the polls on Thursday 6 May.
People will vote for 129 MPs in the Scottish Parliament, Holyrood, with 73 representing constituencies and 56 representing eight regions of the country – seven from each region.
The eight regions are Central Scotland, Glasgow, the Highlands and Islands, Lothian, Central Scotland and Fife, North East Scotland, South Scotland and west of Scotland.
This means that the Scots are each represented by eight MSPs – one representing their constituency and the other seven representing their region.
Opinion polls suggest Thursday’s election is on the razor’s edge, after the SNP saw a drop in its approval ratings throughout 2021 at both single and regional seats, the Labor and Conservatives seeing a slight increase.
Nicola Sturgeon is aiming for a majority – 65 seats – so she can step up her demands for Boris Johnson to drop his opposition to a second independence referendum. If it does not reach this mark, it will be easier for the Prime Minister to reject his appeal.
When does the election take place?
Voters will go to the polls on Thursday, May 6, in Scotland. Local polling stations are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
What is the Scottish Parliament responsible for?
Deconcentrated issues include health, education, transport, planning, local administration, justice system, rural affairs, income tax on income, property taxes and some areas of the protection system social.
Policy areas such as immigration, foreign affairs, defense and the constitution are reserved for the UK government.
Who can vote?
Anyone aged 16 and over and, for the first time, sentenced to a sentence of 12 months or less. Foreign nationals who legally live in Scotland can also vote.
A record number of people have applied to vote by mail due to the coronavirus pandemic. More than a million voters have registered for this, almost a quarter of the electorate.
How are PSMs elected?
Constituency MPs are elected under a first past the post system identical to the Westminster general election.
However, regional list seats are allocated to parties using a complicated form of proportional representation called an additional membership system which deducts constituency wins in that region.
This is intended to correct the scenario where a party comes in second in each constituency but does not get any seats.
The system aims to prevent a party from securing an overall majority, but the SNP did so in the 2011 contest under the leadership of former leader Alex Salmond, a result which prompted David Cameron to propose a referendum on independence.
MPs can run both in a constituency and on the regional list. Therefore, if they miss a victory in a constituency, they have an additional means of being elected.