Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, today (31 Dec) predicted that his party would be the ones to watch in the 2016 Holyrood election, as the Greens tap into the public appetite for a bolder parliament.
An average of the opinion polls during 2015 suggests the Greens will have 9 MSPs in May, 7 more than the party currently has and two more than it had in the 2003-07 session of parliament.
Labour are widely expected to lose at least a dozen MSPs, and the Conservatives and Lib Dems are flat-lining.
Patrick Harvie MSP said:
"2016 will see our biggest and best election campaign to date. The potential we have to increase Green representation reflects the public desire for a greener and fairer Scotland. Our post-referendum surge in membership was sparked by members of the public right across Scotland who wanted to shape the future of their country and we are well-placed to maintain that engagement.
"We already have first-rate candidates in place for May and our local teams are active across the 8 electoral regions. 2016 offers a chance to elect a Scottish Parliament that is bolder in devolving power to local level while also opposing Westminster austerity; a parliament that is serious about caring for our young and our old, and is committed to investing in the jobs of the future as we make the transition to a post-carbon economy.
"By May the SNP will have been in government for 9 years, and from a Green perspective their policies and track record are a real mixed bag. There's clearly public appetite for a ban on fracking; there's clearly an appetite for radical land reform to unlock the potential in our urban and rural communities; and there's clearly a need for more affordable, easy-to-heat housing to end the scandal of fuel poverty. On all these issues and more Scottish Greens have made progress and with more MSPs we can push Holyrood further and faster in the right direction."