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MSPs back plans to extend Scottish Parliament terms to five years

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MSPs back plans to extend Scottish Parliament terms to five years

MSPs have backed plans to extend Scottish Parliament and local authority terms from four to five years.

In a new report, the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee lent its support to the Scottish Elections (Reform) Bill, which also includes plans to allow 14 year-olds to be added to the electoral register ahead of being able to vote at 16.

The bill also introduces flexibility on the size of council wards to include two and five member wards.

Meanwhile MSPs on the committee called on ministers to undertake research on the alternatives to alphabetical ordering on the ballot paper, amid concerns that the candidates nearer the top of the list are more likely to be selected.

Committee convener Bill Kidd said: “How our elections are run in Scotland has a direct impact on engagement and participation. Everybody should feel that they are represented and can have a say in how local and national policies are running.

“The changes in this bill are clearly to be welcomed to make sure that this happens across Scotland. However, the Scottish Government must make sure that where there is flexibility on issues such as the size of council wards, the impact on representation is considered.”

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