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Scotland closer to second independence referendum as SNP, Greens confirm agreement

The Scottish Green party co-leaders, Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie, walk across the Bute House, in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) and the Scottish Greens have signed a power-sharing agreement after months of intense negotiations, giving the opportunity to the members of the Green Party to take leading positions in the Scottish government for the first time in the UK.

Announcing the deal on Friday, Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister and the leader of the SNP, said it was a chance to do “politics and governance better,” adding that she hoped to hold a second referendum on Scottish referendum by the end of 2023.

On its official Twitter account, the Scottish government depicted the agreement as meant “to build a greener, fairer and ‘independent’ Scotland.”

The agreement formalizes the pro-independence majority in Holyrood, after the SNP fell just one seat short of an overall majority in May’s elections. The addition of seven Scottish Green seats will allow the Scottish government to comfortably pass legislation, including a new independence referendum bill.

Under the joint agreement, two Scottish Green MSPs, co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, are expected to become ministers in the Scottish government.

At a joint media briefing in Scotland on Friday, Sturgeon stressed that “our parties will of course retain our distinctive identities. This is not a coalition, we do not agree on everything… but we are coming out of our comfort zones to focus on what we agree on.”


Harvie described the agreement as a “historic moment” for Scotland, adding that it would “put two green ministers into the heart of government advocating for climate,” and deliver a referendum for independence as both parties pledged to do in their recent election manifestos.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party condemned it as a “coalition of cuts,” claiming it “confirms the long-held suspicion that the Scottish Greens are just a branch office of the SNP.”

Under the terms of the document published on the Scottish government website, Green MSPs would support the Scottish government on confidence votes, as well as in annual budgets if there is “appropriate funding for the shared policy program.”

However, there are 10 areas — such as public funding for defense companies and membership of NATO in an independent Scotland — where the SNP and Scottish Greens do not agree and are therefore not expected to support each other.

The agreement marks the first time the Scottish National Party has shared power at Holyrood during 14 years in government.

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