It was only the second time voters had elected the Scottish Parliament, but on May 1, 2003, they chose a more politically diverse range of MSPs than Scotland has seen before or since.
The two biggest parties, Labour and the SNP, both lost seats and instead a sizeable number of Greens, Socialists and independents were elected to the parliament’s benches. When all the votes were counted, Labour had 50 seats, the SNP 27, the Tories 18 and Lib Dems 17, but there were seven Greens and six Scottish Socialists, where before they had one MSP each. Margo MacDonald was elected as an independent Lothian MSP, the equally independent Dennis Canavan was re-elected in Falkirk West, there was an MSP representing the Scottish Senior Citizens Party and another from the Save Stobhill Hospital campaign.
The Labour-Lib Dem coalition remained in power, but the character of the parliament over the next four years was different from before. And the number of independents grew when an SNP MSP and a Tory MSP were expelled from their parties.
Here are 13 pictures of the 2003 campaign and the election night as the results were declared.
1. Green delight
Robin Harper, Scotland's first Green parliamentarian, celebrates with Mark Ballard, who had just been elected as the party's second MSP for Lothian alongside Mr Harper.
The Greens made other gains across Scotland, increasing their total representation in the Scottish Parliament from two to seven. Mr Harper served as co-convener of the party until 2008 and remained an MSP until steping down at the 2011 election. Mr Ballard served only one term before leaving the parliament in 2007. Scottish Parliament elections 2003 - Meadowbank Count.The Greens' Robin Harper (l) and Mark Ballard salute their victories as list MSPs for the Lothians.Pic.... Neil Hanna Scottish Parliament elections 2003 - Meadowbank Count.
The Greens' Robin Harper (l) and Mark Ballard salute their victories as list MSPs for the Lothians.
Pic.... Neil Hanna Photo: Neil Hanna
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John Swinney was leader of the SNP at the 2003 election. Here, he is setting off on a train from Waverley station to Glasgow Queen Street during the campaign. The SNP lost eight seats in the election, taking them down to 27 MSPs. Mr Swinney would step down the following year, when Alex Salmond returned to the leadership. When the SNP won power in 2007 Mr Swinney became a key figure in the government, only opting to go to the backbenches earlier this year. Photo: Andrew Stuart
3. Lib Dem gain
Lib Dem Mike Pringle shows his delight at winning Edinburgh South from Labour by a narrow majority of 158.
Looking on at the declaration of results at Meadowbank are the previous MSP, Labour's Angus MacKay, and the SNP candidate Alex Orr.
Mr Pringle, who had served as a Morningside councillor, was re-elected in 2007 but lost the seat in 2011. Photo: Neil Hanna
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Labour First Minister Jack McConnell talks to union protesters during a campaign visit to Edinburgh. Albie O'Neill, a negotiator for the PCS union and staff from Scottish Natural Heritage were opposing plans to relocate SNH headquarters from Edinburgh to Inverness. Labour lost six seats at the election, reducing them to 50 MSPs, but Mr McConnell - who had become First Minister of the Labour-Lib Dem coalition government in November 2001- remained in office for another term before losing power narrowly to the SNP in 2007. Photo: Jon Savage