Saturday, May 7, 2011

Scottish National Party wins historic majority

The Scottish National Party won a historic majority on Friday in elections for the Scottish parliament, bringing an independence referendum a step closer.

In the first overall majority for any party since the parliament opened in 1999, the SNP battered the once dominant Labour Party and secured 65 seats in the 129-seat Holyrood Assembly, results showed.

Party leader and First Minister Alex Salmond pledged to bring forward a referendum on Scottish independence within the next four years, something he could not deliver in his first term as the SNP were outnumbered by unionists in the Holyrood parliament.

"Just as the people have bestowed trust in us, we must trust the people as well, and that is why in this term of the parliament we shall bring forward a referendum and trust the people with Scotland's own constitutional future," he said.

The result was a major turnaround given that around two months ago opinion polls suggested that the SNP were likely to be ejected from power by the resurgent Labour party.

The election on Thursday was held alongside polls for the devolved national assemblies of Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as local elections in England and a nationwide referendum on changing Britain's voting system.