Thu, 17 Jun 2021

EDINBURGH, Scotland: Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon promised to move forward with a new independence referendum after the pro-independence Scottish National Party came close to winning a majority in Scottish parliament elections on May 8.

The SNP won 64 of 129 seats, media reported.

With the addition of 8 seats won by the Green Party, pro-independence parties now hold 72 seats.

It was also reported that voter turnout was likely to set a new record.

"The people of Scotland have voted to give pro-independence parties a majority in the Scottish Parliament," Sturgeon said late on election day, according to United Press International.

With their new strength, she said, "there is simply no democratic justification whatsoever for Boris Johnson or anyone else seeking to block the right of the people of Scotland to choose our future."

The last vote to secede from Scotland was held in 2014 when voters rejected an independence referendum, as 55 percent voted to remain in the United Kingdom.

SNP leaders, however, say Brexit has altered Scottish loyalites, as 62% of Scottish voters opposed Britain leaving the European Union.

Since the failed 2014 referendum, SNP officials have repeatedly called for a second referendum.

UK government leaders, however, have said such a referndum would "continue the political stagnation Scotland has seen for the past decade."

And as late as May 4, British prime minister Boris Johnson told The Telegraph, "I think a referendum in the current context is irresponsible and reckless."

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