Speaking as the votes continue to be counted in the Holyrood election, Ms Sturgeon said: ‘You will not succeed, the only people who can decide the future of Scotland are the people of Scotland. “
UK Elections Live: Follow the latest results and reactions to the ‘Super Thursday’ vote count
She added that the timing for another referendum “should be a matter for the Scottish Parliament” and “is not a decision for Boris Johnson or a Westminster politician”.
Ms Sturgeon said the people of Scotland ‘must have the right to decide their own future when the COVID crisis has passed’, describing it as a ‘matter of fundamental democratic principle’.
SNP’s hopes of winning an overall majority appear to be fading, but the party will be the largest party in Holyrood and is set for a historic fourth term.
Ms Sturgeon said the party had “won more votes and a greater share of votes in the constituency ballot than any party in the history of decentralization”, describing it as an “extraordinary and historic achievement” .
This sets the stage for a battle between Holyrood and Mr Johnson’s government in Westminster over a second referendum.
The SNP has vowed to introduce legislation for another vote, but that could be challenged by the UK government in court.
Ms Sturgeon argued that winning more than half of the seats in the Scottish Parliament would give her the mandate to hold another vote.
But opponents of such a move will likely grasp the SNP’s failure to win an outright majority if that happens.
Announcing such an attack, the prime minister said on Friday he felt voters had “moved away from the idea of a referendum”.
With 94 of 129 declared results, the SNP has 63 seats, Scottish Tories 14, Scottish Labor 10, Liberal Democrats 4 and other parties out of 3.
65 seats are needed for an overall majority.
The SNP won three seats in the results that were declared on Friday, but this success could cause the party to lose regional seats under the Scottish proportional electoral system.
The pro-independence Scottish Greens are expected to win seats in the regional list vote, meaning there would be a majority in favor of a second referendum in Holyrood.
Ms Sturgeon said the SNP’s failure to win a majority would not come as a “huge surprise”.
“I have always said that a majority is a long chance. We have a PR system in Holyrood, it’s not supposed to provide majorities. But I am delighted with our results, ”she said.
Sturgeon made up the rhetoric and put the ball in Johnson’s court
Analysis by Joe Pike, Political Correspondent
A constitutional clash is now inevitable: waiting for a new battle between the Scottish and British governments as Nicola Sturgeon pushes for a second referendum on independence. Tonight she made up the rhetoric and pressure. Boris Johnson will have to take the next step.
Mrs Sturgeon’s victory in Scotland is historic in many ways. But she still hasn’t reached the SNP majority she dreams of, and which she says would give her the mandate to vote again when she leaves the UK. It will be a relief for the Prime Minister.
More than half of Holyrood’s new MPs will still support independence (if you add the SNP and pro-indy Scottish Greens), and that group will likely be slightly larger than in the last parliamentary session.
Still, Boris Johnson will be relieved that the Nationalists were unable to secure the SNP majority they won in 2011, which led to the 2014 referendum and 55% support for the rest of the UK.
In that Holyrood election turnout was on the rise, as was tactical voting – especially pro-union Scots picking the party with the best chance of defeating the SNP.
Scotland remains divided on the central question of the constitution: almost 50/50. It seems unlikely that the gap will be closed anytime soon.