The SNP has once again won more seats than any of its rivals north of the border, but lost its majority. In London, Labour's Sadiq Khan was on course to become mayor, despite a poor showing nationwide for his party.
Final results showed that the Scottish National Party (SNP) had secured 63 seats out of 129, falling just short of the number required to form a majority government.
While the pro-independence party remained the largest group, it will need to rely on smaller parties, such as the Greens, to pass legislation.
The result represented a fall in support for the SNP, which previously had 69 seats and was able to rule as a majority government.
The main loser in the Holyrood parliament in Edinburgh was the Labour Party, which was relegated to third place by the Scottish Conservatives. While Labour - who dominated Scottish politics for decades - only managed to clinch 24 seats, the Tories gained 31.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said the result, which would effectively give the party a third term in power, was unprecedented.
In England, Londoners were asked to vote for a new mayor, with Labour Party candidate Sadiq Khan emerging as the front-runner. Full results were expected late on Friday.
Khan had a large lead in the run up to the poll, despite accusations from his rival, Conservative Zac Goldsmith, that he had given "oxygen" to radical Islamists by sharing a debating platform with them.
Khan, 45, is the son of an immigrant bus driver, while the 41-year-old Goldsmith, is the son of a billionaire financier.
Disappointment for Labour
The winner of the mayoral race will replace current mayor Boris Johnson, a contender to succeed David Cameron as leader of the Conservatives. Johnson is one of the chief proponents of a British exit from the European Union, with a referendum on the proposed "Brexit" to take place on June 23.
Though Khan looked set to win on Friday, the Labour Party suffered modest losses in local councils across the country. With more than half of votes counted, the party lost control of 28 council seats in total - less than many analysts had predicted.
The losses could be seen as disappointing for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was elected by party activists and members despite being unpopular with Labour lawmakers. Corbyn's stewardship of the party has seen it move sharply to the left, while the party has been dogged by internal division.
rc/msh (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)