[JURIST] Voters in Scotland on Thursday voted against independence from the UK [advocacy websites] in the country’s first national referendum on the matter. The Scottish Parliament [official website] unanimously approved a bill last November to hold a Scottish independence referendum [JURIST report]. Eighty-four percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the referendum, with approximately 45 percent voting in favor of Scottish independence [BBC report] and 55 percent voting against independence. Top UK political parties, when campaigning against Scottish independence, pledged to grant Scotland more powers should it reject independence [BBC report]. Legislation containing Scotland’s proposed new powers will likely be voted on in the House of Commons [official website] in early 2015.
The recent push for a referendum regarding Scotland’s independence has marked a turning point [JURIST report] in the decades-long negotiations between Scotland and the UK. If Scotland became independent it would have had to apply for separate EU membership, according to a report [JURIST report] released in February by HM Treasury [official website], the UK’s economic and finance ministry. Last October British Prime Minister David Cameron and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond [official websites] formally agreed to hold the referendum [JURIST report] regarding the independence of Scotland, potentially ending the union between the two nations in place since the Union with England Act of 1707 [text]. Drafts of the referendum differed considerably in terms and direction from the original [JURIST report], presented in February 2010.