Greens first party to starting line in City Centre by-election contest

The Greens are the first of the main parties to announce their candidate for the pivotal by-election in the City Centre ward.

Melanie Main will contest the election for the Greens, in what the party describes as their most winnable by-election ward in Scotland.

Setting out her stall for “a living city centre”, Ms Main said:

“Whenever the election is called, at least part of the campaign will co-incide with the world’s biggest arts festival taking place in the city centre.  The streets are a magnet for visitors from across the planet.

“But, in this contest, I want to emphasise that the city centre is not just for August and not only for visitors.  It is also one of the UK’s most lived-in city centres.  That means having policies that enhance quality of life year-round.  Tackling traffic congestion and air pollution. Creating green space in the heart of the city.  Support for community groups, small businesses and local shops that define the different neighbourhoods in the area.  Backing our schools and nurseries against closures and cuts. Those are the kind of priorities that I hear people raise.”

“While some candidates may seek to make the election solely about the way the Lib Dem-SNP Council has mismanaged the trams project, life in the city centre is about much more than that.”

The Greens also argue that they have a head start on all the other parties, Melanie having already been selected for and active in the City Centre a year ago, in preparation for the 2012 council elections.

Green MSP, Alison Johnstone added:

“This is the tightest five way contest in Scotland.  Only 278 votes separated the five main parties in 2007.  I firmly believe that the Greens can win, especially with so many Liberal Democrat voters now looking for a real alternative.  A Green victory here will turn heads like no other result will.”

The by-election has been caused by the departure of SNP member, Cllr David Beckett.  Although it is the third by-election since the council elections in 2007 it is the first in which the Lib Dem-SNP’s “casting vote” majority has been under threat.

Notes to Editor

1. Melanie is 52 years old and lives in Edinburgh with her husband and primary  school aged daughter.  She was brought up in the New Town, and then Midlothian.  Melanie studied at Edinburgh University, where she became active in student politics and enjoyed a sabbatical year as Treasurer of Edinburgh University Students Association. She worked in London and abroad, before returning  to Edinburgh in 1998.  Melanie works for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scotland Office in the City and previously worked for the Green MSP group in Holyrood (2003-2007) .  She is convenor of the City Centre Green Team, part of Edinburgh Green Party.

2. In 2007 the Greens secured 1352 votes (17%) the highest in the city and only a handful short of being elected. The Greens believe that, for example, many of the Liberal Democrat voters who gave their second preference votes to the Greens will now put Greens as their first choice.