At the 2007 election Labour polled less than 40% of the Scottish vote for the first time ever (36%). Meanwhile, the Scottish National Party (SNP) surged to 37%, jumping 15 points on their 2003 performance (22%). This gave the SNP 47 seats compared to Labour's 46, but nothing near an overall majority (65). Nonetheless, in coalition politics the party with the greatest number of seats has 'first opportunity' to form a workable government, either through coalition or minority administration.
Two other groups elected in 2007 supported independence: the Greens (2) and a single independent. An SNP coalition with these would have provided only 50 seats and exacted a high 'price' with regards to the smaller parties wanting legislative time for their own manifesto promises. The three other parties were all unionist – Labour (46), Conservative (17) and LibDems (16) – and unlikely bedfellows for the SNP. Although the SNP did consider coalition with the LibDems, this would have provided only 63 seats, still requiring the Greens (2) for a majority.