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First elected in 1973, Fraser's political rise was rapid, entering cabinet only three years later as Education Minister. He was one of the most popular ministers in the government. Unlike most of his contemporaries Fraser didnt hail from either the left or the right of the party.
When Gordon Reid retired as Labour Party Leader in 1979 Fraser was elected as his successor in a tight race.
Fraser led Labour to a stunning victory in the 1981 general election, winning an overall majority (the last single party overall majority in Scottish history).
Labour was re-elected at the 1985 election, although losing its majority it was forced into a coalition with the Liberal Party. His second term was hampered by a long and ensuing leadership struggle between Fraser and his Finance Minister John Cunningham.
Fraser finally resigned in February 1989.