Greens welcome open door to new voting and candidacy rights

The Scottish Greens have welcomed the news that the Scottish Government will launch a consultation on extending candidacy rights in Scottish elections. 

The issue was raised by Scottish Green MSP Mark Ruskell during Portfolio Questions in the Scottish Parliament.

In the Chamber today, the Minister for Parliamentary Business, George Adam, confirmed that the Scottish Government will be considering further ideas on how to extend the electoral franchise to include more people living in Scotland. 

The Scottish Greens are calling for an extension of candidacy rights to include everyone living in Scotland over 16, including those with limited leave to remain. They have also called for the voting franchise to be truly residence-based, and include people seeking asylum.

The cooperation agreement, negotiated between the Scottish Greens and the Scottish Government, commits to “promote legislation on electoral reform that enables more people to stand as candidates at Scottish Parliament and local government elections.” 

Speaking afterwards, Mark Ruskell MSP said:

“The Scottish Parliament and local councils should be truly representative of all the people they serve.

“I am glad that the Scottish Government is looking to open the door to new electoral rights. Hopefully the Government will move to fix some of the inequalities in our electoral franchise, at least in relation to candidacy rights. But I would like to see it going further and including an extension of voting rights to people seeking asylum. 

“If we’re going to improve democratic rights for some people, why not take the opportunity to improve them for all?

"Now more than ever, we need to find a way to overcome barriers to voting and candidacy. We would be a better and more democratic nation as a result.”