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Scotland leader vows to again pursue independence after strong show in UK polls

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London | May 9, 2021 2:44:16 AM IST
After her party gained a strong showing in the Scottish Parliament elections, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Saturday promised to push ahead with another independence referendum, setting up a potential clash with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

According to The Washington Post, Sturgeon said that an independence referendum was the "will of the country", projecting that her Scottish National Party (SNP) and pro-independence allies would hold a majority of the 129 seats after all the votes were counted.

Although it appeared that her party would win an outright majority, she said that along with the Green Party, there would be overall support in the Parliament to again bring the independence question back to voters.

"The people of Scotland have voted to give pro-independence parties a majority in the Scottish Parliament... The final numbers may not yet be known, but it is beyond doubt that the pro-independence majority in our new Parliament will be larger than it was in the last one," she said as votes were being tallied.

The United Kingdom went to the polls on Thursday for a number of regional elections. However, the counting has been slower due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Washington Post reported.

The SNP lost its first swipe at an independence plebiscite in 2014 by 45 to 55 per cent vote. Now it insists that views have changed following the 2016 referendum to break with the European Union, which 62 percent of Scottish voters opposed.

Sturgeon now has to win public permission, legal permission, and then the referendum itself. The Washington Post reported that a sexual harassment scandal involving Sturgon's predecessor Alex Salmond, and the success of the British vaccine rollout has split the country on independence.

Many Scots tell pollsters they want their regional government to get the economy back on track after the heavy losses from the pandemic before they begin to wave the blue-and-white flag for independence.

"The Scottish problem is Boris Johnson's biggest single political headache," said Jonathan Tonge, a politics professor at the University of Liverpool. (ANI)

 
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