The Scottish National Party (SNP) will not seek to form a coalition government in the Holyrood parliament after the party failed to secure a majority in the 5 May elections. Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement after the nationalists fell two seats short of securing a majority (65) at the Scottish Parliament.
"With such a large number of MSPs elected I do not intend to seek any formal arrangement with any other party," Sturgeon declared on 6 May. "The government that I lead will be inclusive. It will deliver on the commitments we made to the Scottish people – but it will also reach out and seek to work with others across the parliament to find common ground and build consensus."
The First Minister of Scotland also promised to govern with "conviction and determination", but also with "humility and a willingness to listen and to learn from the ideas of others".
"And on the question of independence, the SNP will make our case with passion, with patience and with respect. But our aim is to persuade, not to divide. We will always respect the opinion of the people – now and in the future – and we simply ask that other parties do likewise," Sturgeon added.
"As First Minister, I have a duty to rise above party politics and to govern in the best interests of all of our country. My pledge today is that I will always seek to do that. Whatever your politics or your point of view, my job is to serve you."
The comments came after a disastrous night for Scottish Labour, as Kezia Dugdale's party only won 24 seats (-13). The result allowed a resurgent the Scottish Conservatives party to push into second place after returning 31 MSPs (+16).
Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson provided one of the surprises of the night by taking the Edinburgh Central seat from the SNP.
"There are people right across Scotland who are sending the SNP a message – the voices and the decision we made as a country will not be ignored," Davidson said. She secured more than 30% of the vote, up from a fourth place and 15% in 2011.