Eight candidates are asking Falkirk voters to back them at the ballot box four weeks today (Thursday) to become one of their two constituency MSPs at the Scottish Parliament.
As the deadline for nominations closed it has been confirmed that in Falkirk West, ‘Holyrood hopefuls’ Michael Matheson (SNP), Mandy Telford (Labour), Alison Harris (Conservative) and Gillian Cole-Hamilton (Lib Dems) will go head to head on May 5.
In Falkirk East, which covers Bo’ness, the race is between Angus MacDonald (SNP), Craig Martin (Labour), Callum Laidlaw (Conservative) and James Donald Munro (Lib Dems).
The two ‘first past the post’ will be heading for Edinburgh – but there are also 62 hopefuls, representing nine political parties and one independent, vying to win one of the seven Central Scotland Region seats available under the ‘Additional Member System’ to reflect proportional representation.
Here, the SNP has nominated 11 ‘list’ candidates.
While Michael Matheson, who was Justice Minister in SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon’s last government, is banking his political career on winning the Falkirk West Constituency outright, colleague Angus MacDonald, who has represented Falkirk East for the last five years, has a ‘fall-back’ position and been named in the regional list at number five.
If Mandy Telford loses in Falkirk West for Labour she loses out because she is not on the party’s list of 12 for Central Scotland, but Falkirk Councillor Craig Martin is in at number five.
Alison Harris and Callum Laidlaw are ranked three and six respectively by the Conservatives on their list of nine and James Donald Munro and Gillian Cole-Hamilton at five and eight respectively in the eight-strong list confirmed by the Lib Dems.
Registered voters have already been issued with poll cards telling them where they can vote on May 5 between 7am and 10pm.
Two ballot papers will be issued.
The constituency paper is coloured lilac and will list the candidates standing. Mark ‘X’ in the box next to the name of the candidate of your choice.
The regional ballot paper is peach and will list parties and individual candidates standing.
One simple ‘X’ in the box next to the party or candidate of your choice is all that is required.
The parties or individual candidates win seats in the region based on the number of votes they receive in this regional ballot and the number of constituency seats won by the parties in this region.
The results are expected to be declared by Constituency Returning Officer Mary Pitcaithly in Grangemouth Sports Complex in the early hours of Friday, May 6.
In Falkirk West in 2011 Michael Matheson received 15,607 votes, beating Labour’s Dennis Goldie into second spot with a majority of 5745.
Angus MacDonald won Falkirk East with 14,302 votes, 3535 more that Labour’s Cathie Peattie.
SNP and Labour shared six of the Central Region list seats with the seventh won by Conservative Margaret Mitchell.