The Scottish Government is the executive arm of the devolved government for Scotland.
The Scottish Government, known as the Scottish Executive prior to 2007, is responsible in Scotland for all issues that are not explicitly reserved to the United Kingdom Parliament at Westminster by Schedule 5 of the Scotland Act 1998.
Devolved matters include health, education, justice, home affairs, rural affairs, economic development and transport.
The Scottish Government is led by a First Minister, nominated by the Scottish Parliament and by the Queen, who then appoints a Ministerial team, with the approval of Parliament, from the elected MSPs. The Scottish Law Officers, the Lord Advocate and Solicitor General, can be appointed from outside the Parliament's membership, but are subject to its approval. The First Minister, the Cabinet Secretaries and the Scottish Law Officers are members of the Scottish Government. They are collectively known as the 'Scottish Ministers'.
Parliamentary elections in Scotland, initiated in 1999 when the Scottish Parliament was re-convened after a gap of almost 300 years, are held every four years. The current session which began in May 2011 will last for five years with the next election scheduled for 2016.
Of 129 MSPs 73 are elected from first-past-the-post constituencies with a further 56 are returned from eight regions, each of which elect seven MSPs as a form of mixed member proportional representation.
New Administrations are appointed after each election.
Previous Administrations have served for the periods