A Green MSP has been elected as the Scottish Parliament's presiding officer and main contact with the Queen after the party's leader said he was looking forward to the end of the monarchy. Alison Johnstone was the only MSP to put herself forward for the key role, Holyrood's equivalent of the Commons Speaker, after a series of other potential frontrunners ruled themselves out. The Lothian list MSP, who had to give up her party affiliation, said she was very proud to become the parliament's sixth presiding officer, describing it as a "great opportunity and an incredible privilege which I will never take for granted". Her appointment left Holyrood split down the middle with 64 SNP MSPs and 64 opposition MSPs following last week's election. However, there remains a majority in favour of separation. The presiding officer role involves having private audiences with the Queen and accompanying her during the Royal opening of the parliament, with the next one due in July. But her appointment came shortly after Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Greens' co-leader, reasserted his party’s republican beliefs as he and other MSPs were sworn in at the start of the new parliamentary term. He said: “On behalf of the Scottish Green party, I would like to reassert that our allegiance lies with the people of Scotland who elected this Parliament and who are sovereign, and we look forward to the day when they can choose their own elected head of state”.