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Scottish leader calls for 2nd independence referendum early next year

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks during an Independence rally in Glasgow, Scotland, November 2, 2019. (Photo by Reuters)

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has called for a second independence referendum to be held as soon as next year, in a major challenge to the United Kingdom (UK), which is is still struggling with difficulties of Brexit.

Sturgeon said she anticipates that a vote will take place “in the earlier part” of the next Scottish parliament, which begins next year.

“The referendum for a whole variety of reasons should be in the earlier part of the next parliament,” she said.

Her Scottish National Party (SNP), which has formed the government since 2007, is expected to perform strongly in elections to the Scottish parliament in May.

This would give her government a mandate to hold another referendum on independence.

Scots voted 55-45 percent against independence in a 2014 referendum.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the first referendum was decisive and should be respected.

His government has said there should not be another independence referendum in the near future.

If Sturgeon wins the election in May, Johnson will have to make a decision whether to refuse a referendum and thus allow Scottish discontent to simmer or allow a referendum which could break apart the union.

The UK and Northern Ireland includes England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Britain voted 52-48 to leave the European Union in a 2016 referendum. Scots voted 62% to 38% in favor of remaining in the EU.

The issue of Scotland’s independence was then thrust back into the limelight. Sturgeon said the day after the vote that the situation was a "democratic outrage" and that another independence vote was "highly likely.”

Recent polls show support for the independence of Scotland has been rising lately.

An Ipsos Mori poll indicated last month that 58% of Scots would vote to quit the UK, if a referendum were held this year.

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