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The Scottish National Party failed to take all of Scotland’s biggest towns after Labor took control of Edinburgh with the help of the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives.

The SNP had hoped to retain power in the Scottish capital after winning the most seats and brokering a coalition deal with the Scottish Greens that left them three seats short of overall control.

However, to the outrage of the SNP leadership, the Greens and some left-wing critics, Labor was installed as the city’s minority administration after giving the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives chairmanships and paid assistants on key committees. In a sign of internal unease over the deal, two Labor advisers abstained.

Labor insisted the posts did not fit a coalition – which had been largely ruled out by its Scottish leader, Anas Sarwar, ahead of the local elections three weeks ago – as they held non-partisan political posts and licensing and planning regulations.

John Swinney, the SNP Deputy Prime Minister who replaces Nicola Sturgeon while she is on Covid leave, accused Sarwar of hypocrisy during Prime Minister’s Questions. He said Labor was now in bed with the “toxic, corrupt and out of touch Conservative Party…vote Labour; get preservatives”.

The vote in Edinburgh amplified a defining trend in Scottish politics, where political alliances are increasingly defined by one party’s position on Scotland’s constitutional future.

The Greens are pro-independence and, alongside the proposed coalition deal in Edinburgh, supported a minority SNP administration in Glasgow, while holding two ministerial posts in the Scottish government.

The SNP now rules the towns of Glasgow, where it retained narrow power; Aberdeen, where he ousted Labour; Dundee, where he won his only overall majority; Perth, where he ousted the Tories who ruled Perth and Kinross; and Inverness, where he leads the Highland Council in a coalition with Independents.

The SNP cemented its position as Scotland’s dominant party on May 5 by winning 34% of the national vote, its best council performance and 454 of Scotland’s 1,227 council seats, again its highest share to date. .

In other areas where the SNP has won most seats but been blocked by pro-British parties, Labor leads minority administrations in Stirling, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian, East Renfrewshire and Fife, often after offering non-political positions to other groups or independents.

Labor said it had kept its promise to avoid coalition deals; he added that he would work with the SNP and the Greens wherever possible, and did not assume he would win support for his policies from the Lib Dems or the Tories.

Jackie Baillie, deputy leader of the Scottish Labor Party, said “Swinney’s sense of entitlement is astonishing. The SNP do not own Scotland and they have no divine right to rule. We are nowhere in a formal coalition with the SNP or the Conservatives: this means we have to listen to all parties and advisers and reflect their concerns.

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Scottish councilors are elected under the single transferable vote system of proportional representation, which makes it highly unlikely that any one party will win an overall majority and is designed to promote cross-party working.

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