FORMER Highland councillor Alasdair Rhind has won back his seat almost four months after losing it.
The funeral director had represented Tain and Easter Ross for 26 years until he was ousted by voters during the local government elections in May.
He lost out to former fellow councillors Jamie Stone and Fiona Robertson, who were both returned, and newbie SNP councillor Derek Louden.
But just one month later he was given a second chance when fellow ward representative Mr Stone was elected to Westminster at June’s snap general election, triggering a by-election for the council seat.
Easter Ross residents took to the polls again yesterday and at today’s count, at the Duthac Centre in Tain, Councillor Rhind was re-instated.
In the single transferable vote system used in council elections, voters rank candidates in order of preference and Mr Rhind won 1266 first preference votes. The worst performing candidate is then eliminated and their votes are transferred to the second preference until one reaches a majority.
Scottish Libertarian Party candidate Harry Christian was first to be eliminated, with just 13 first preference votes. Next up was independent Gerald Holdsworth, who fared slightly better with 68 first preferences before Cllr Rhind reached a majority in the third round, just over two hours after the count began.
The SNP’s Stan Peace won 612 first preference votes, while 372 went to Liberal Democrat William Sinclair and Conservative Eva Short secured 233.
The turn out was 36.1 per cent and 28 ballot papers were rejected.