VOTERS go to the polls on Thursday, May 6, to elect the next Scottish Parliament – the sixth Scottish Parliament Election since the Parliament was established in 1999.

Within the Scottish Parliament, there are 129 elected members (MSPs), comprising 73 constituency members and 56 regional members.

The Additional Member System of voting – combining the traditional First Past the Post (FPP) method with Proportional Representation (PR) – is used.

Voters have two votes.

One vote – on the lilac-coloured ballot paper – is to elect a person to be their constituency member, who is the person with the most FPP votes in that constituency, just like the way MPs are elected in General Elections.

The other vote – on the peach-coloured ballot paper – is to elect regional representatives. Voters can select a party or an individual candidate standing for a seat in a Scottish Parliament Region.

There are seven MSPs for each of the eight Scottish Parliament Regions. Candidates or parties are elected using a PR voting system and are called ‘List’ MSPs. The system aims to ensure that parties gain a number of MSPs comparable to the amount of support they receive in each region.

East Lothian has one constituency MSP and is also part of the South Scotland region.

The regional list candidates for South Scotland include candidates from 16 parties: Abolish the Scottish Parliament Party, Alba Party, All for Unity, Freedom Alliance, Independent Green Voice, Reform UK, Scotia Future, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Scottish Family Party, Scottish Green Party, Scottish Labour Party, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Scottish Libertarian Party, Scottish National Party (SNP), UK Independence Party (UKIP), and Vanguard Party.

The full list of candidates is at

At the last election in 2016, Iain Gray (Labour) won the constituency vote in East Lothian by 1,127 votes from the SNP’s DJ Johnston-Smith, with the Conservatives' Rachael Hamilton third ahead of the Liberal Democrats' Ettie Spencer in fourth.

Although the vast majority of East Lothian is in the East Lothian constituency, Musselburgh, Wallyford and Whitecraig are in the Midlothian North and Musselburgh constituency, which is part of the Lothian region. The SNP's Colin Beattie won there in 2016.

This is the second Scottish Parliamentary Election in which 16 and 17 year olds are eligible to vote, after previously being allowed to do so in the 2016 election.