29 August 2008
Former transport minister Tavish Scott has been elected leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.
The Shetland MSP takes over from Nicol Stephen, who resigned last month, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.
Scott, latterly the party's spokesman for finance and sustainable growth, won a 59% share of the vote in a three-cornered contest.
His nearest rival, Ross Finnie, also a former minister, received 21.3% of the vote.
Mike Rumbles, the party's rural affairs spokesman, came third with 17.9%.
Following the election on August 26, Scott said he was determined to make his party a 'dominant presence on the political landscape'.
He described his election as a 'mandate for change' that locked in LibDem values.
'That's why we'll continue to make the case for protecting our environment, improving our public services and taking back our civil liberties,' he said.
Scott was transport minister in the Labour-LibDem coalition administration that was in charge at Holyrood before the Scottish National Party's historic victory in May last year.
A committed federalist, he resisted a pact with the SNP because of the nationalists' plans for a referendum on independence.
However, at a news conference after his election he indicated that he might be prepared to consider a multi-option referendum.
This would give people a range of choices, including preserving the status quo, strengthening the powers of the Scottish Parliament and outright independence.
Meanwhile, Labour will begin the new Scottish parliamentary session at Holyrood next week without a leader.
It is in the middle of a contest for the post, following the resignation of Wendy Alexander over her failure to register party donations on time.
Labour's new Scottish leader is due to be announced on September 13.