Eurosceptic unionist party Ukip has announced candidates for the Scottish Parliament election amid claims of a “stitch up”.

Ukip Scotland leader David Coburn, a member of the European Parliament, is standing as number one on the party’s Highlands and Islands regional list.

Key allies Kevin Newton and Caroline Santos top the South Scotland regional list while Santos’ daughter is placed number two on the North East Scotland list.

Ukip’s Mid Scotland and Fife list is topped by Colin Mitchelson, who is understood to be an aide to Mr Coburn.

Ukip is standing four candidates in some regions and only three in others after several party members who were selected withdrew from the process shortly before the deadline.

Ukip Scotland’s internal democratic decision-making functions were suspended by the party hierarchy in 2013 during a period of infighting.

A leaked email from party director Paul Oakden to party members revealed that Mr Coburn was permitted to handpick candidates and rank them, before the National Executive Committee rubber stamped his choices. Mr Coburn has repeatedly denied this.

Mr Coburn said: “Ukip will be contesting this election with a belief that our message of proper independence, fiscal responsibility and driving power away from the politicians into the hands of the people who matter, ordinary men and women across Scotland, will resonate with the voter.”

Ukip leader Nigel Farage added: “I am certain that this team, led by David Coburn, will break into Holyrood and provide a voice of serious opposition to the stale political consensus in Edinburgh.”

Euan Blockley, 18, who pulled out of the Ukip selection process after describing it as a “stitch up” said: “Looking through the lists you see a trend. The top brass of Ukip Scotland have parachuted into regions where they do not reside.

“My hope is that those minded to vote Ukip have a look at their local candidate and do a little digging. They may realise that the party does not champion local democracy but instead punishes those who are not a part of the inner circle. They have royally stitched it up.”

Another former candidate, who asked not to be named, said: “David Coburn has created inverted lists, putting credible candidates at the bottom and his friends at the top.

“Coburn has no interest in Scotland or democracy and is widely regarded as a class clown by the membership.”

A spokesman for Ukip said: “When candidate lists are produced there will always be those who are disappointed. That is as true at the level of picking the first eleven at school as it is for all political parties prior to elections. Sadly it is the nature of the beast.”