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A five horse race

candidates

THERE were no surprises when nominations for the Shetland seat in the forthcoming Scottish Parliamentary elections closed on Tuesday.

The five candidates who had already put forward their names last week will fight for the seat which has been held by the Liberal Democrats since the Parliament was formed in 1999.

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Sandy Cross, an investment banker with farming and aquaculture interests on the west side of Shetland, will stand for the Conservative Party

Independent candidate Billy Fox, who cites an environmental agenda, is seen by many as a real challenge to the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott, who has held the seat for the past 12 years and achieved a record majority for the party in 2007.

Jamie Kerr, a human rights lawyer from Renfrewshire hopes to improve Labour’s poor show from four years ago, when the party polled less than seven per cent of the vote.

Finally Jean Urquhart, the owner of the well known Ceilidh Place in Ullapool, is flying the flag for the Scottish nationals.

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The six week campaign should see candidates touring the isles from Fair Isle to Unst, and Skerries to Foula.

Two hustings have already been organised, both to be held on 22 April, first at the Brae High School at 2pm, and later the same day at Shetland Museum and Archives when BBC Radio Shetland hosts its traditional hustings night.

Voters will go to the poll on Thursday 5 May with polling stations open between 7am and 10pm. The count will again take place in Lerwick Town Hall where the result is expected to be announced in the early hours of the following Friday.

Voters will also be asked to make up their mind on the proposed new voting system for the Westminster Parliament.

The referendum on the Alternative Vote, which could replace the current first past the post system will be held on the same day, with the count taking place the following afternoon.

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