Scotland elects minority government, dampening hopes of independence – fr

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Scotland elects minority government, dampening hopes of independence – fr


Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks at a Glasgow counting center on May 7, 2021.

POOL / Getty Images

Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon suffered a setback in her quest for a referendum on Scottish independence after her party failed to win a majority in the local elections.

The Scottish National Party won 64 seats in the Scottish Parliament, slightly less than what the party needed to secure a majority. This result was one more result than the party held before the election.

The SNP won the most seats and Ms Sturgeon will return to government with the support of the Green Party, which also supports independence and will have eight members of the Scottish Parliament, or MSP.

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Winning an overall majority is not easy in the Scottish electoral system which is a mixture of first-past-the-post and proportional representation. But the SNP had high hopes for a resounding victory in Thursday’s election to back Ms Sturgeon’s call for a referendum on sovereignty within two years. They had also been backed by opinion polls showing increased support for sovereignty and Ms. Sturgeon’s great popularity among voters.

The counting of the ballots was delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions and as the results took shape on Saturday it became clear that the SNP was going to miss. Ms Sturgeon refused to give up on her promise to hold a referendum and she pledged to move forward.

“The SNP won this election with force,” she told reporters on Saturday. Highlighting the combined total of 72 Green SNPs and MSPs, she added: “It seems there is no doubt that there will be a pro-independence majority in this Scottish parliament and by any normal standard of democracy that majority should to commit. he paid homage to the Scottish people. … The only people who can decide Scotland’s future are the Scots – no Westminster politician can or should stand in the way.

Throughout the campaign, Ms Sturgeon has argued that once the pandemic is over, Scots have a right to decide their future, especially given the Brexit that most Scots have opposed. His plan was to hold a referendum by 2023.

However, by law, she needs the UK government to approve a plebiscite and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has firmly refused. He argued that the Scots had settled the issue in 2014 when they voted no to 55% sovereignty. Now that the SNP has failed to win a majority, analysts have said Mr Johnson will be able to argue that Ms Sturgeon does not have a mandate to call a referendum.

“I think a referendum in the current context is irresponsible and reckless,” Mr Johnson told the Daily Telegraph in an interview published on Saturday. “Because I don’t think this is the time to have more constitutional wrangling, to talk about tearing our country apart, when in reality people want to heal our economy and bounce back together.”

Ms Sturgeon ruled out holding a referendum without Westminster’s consent, saying she wanted a legitimate result. But she made it clear on Saturday that if the Scottish Parliament approves a referendum motion and Mr Johnson refuses to accept, the issue will go to court.

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“The timing for an independence referendum should now be in the hands of the Scottish Parliament,” she said. If Mr Johnson ignores the request, he will have to ‘make the decision to legally challenge the ability of the Scottish Parliament to follow through on what the Scottish people have voted for. The absurdity and outrageous nature of this – a Westminster government being able to take legal action to overthrow Scottish democracy – is, I think, the most powerful argument for Scottish independence.

Even if a referendum were to take place, the outcome would be far from certain. Support for sovereignty has increased in several opinion polls, but it still hovers around 50 percent. The election results also showed that Scotland is deeply divided on the issue. The popular vote was split equally between the two parties that support independence – the SNP and the Greens – and those who oppose it: the Conservatives, Labor and the Liberal Democrats.

“We are indeed divided on the constitutional question,” poll expert Sir John Curtice, professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde, said in a blog post. “Therefore, if we were to hold a referendum at any time in the near future, Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon would take the biggest political bet.”

A prominent voice for independence – former Prime Minister Alex Salmond – is set to lose his attempt to re-enter Parliament.

Mr Salmond is a former SNP leader and prime minister who served as a mentor for Ms Sturgeon. The two got into a fight after Mr Salmond resigned as chief in 2014 and went on to face multiple sexual assault charges. He was acquitted last year but sparked a parliamentary inquiry after alleging Ms Sturgeon and other government officials conspired to ruin his reputation and “put him in jail.” Ms Sturgeon dismissed the charge and was cleared by a majority of the committee, but animosity on both sides escalated.

Mr Salmond recently formed a new pro-sovereignty party called Alba and during the campaign he criticized Ms Sturgeon for not moving quickly enough towards independence. However, the party is not expected to win any seats. “I have won so many elections that I don’t mind losing a few,” Salmond said on Saturday after conceding defeat. “There was a good result available for us and we didn’t quite get there.”

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Mr Salmond vowed to continue his political comeback and he once again criticized Ms Sturgeon. “Nicola is going to procrastinate,” he said. “Nicola lost his temper on independence in 2017 [by failing to hold a referendum] and never got it back, it’s that easy. As Alba grows older, [and] it will be, it will be shown that everything we have said is correct.


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