Voters in Scotland went to the polls yesterday (Thursday) to vote in a referendum that will see them gain independence from the United Kingdom.
The voters faced a yes or no question on whether Scotland should be an independent country in the referendum in which the turn out was high, with Scotland’s chief counting officer Mary Pitcaithly indicating that a total of 4,285,323 people had registered for the voting exercise.
The vote for independence would have meant Scotland, with its population of about 5.3 million, splits from the rest of the United Kingdom which is made up of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Voting can took place from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. local time at more than 5,500 polling stations across 32 districts nationwide, from the remote highlands and islands to the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Scotland’s pro-independence First Minister Alex Salmond said that the referendum is the greatest and most empowering moment that the people of Scotland will ever have at final event of the campaign on Wednesday as supporters waived Scottish flags while chanting “Yes we can.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron has pleaded with voters in Scotland to reject independence and remain in the United Kingdom as Scotland’s potential exit from the UK will mean UK’s economy may be faced with uncertainties.
A simple majority was needed for either side to claim victory.
The results are finally in and Scotland will remain part of the United Kingdom — along with England, Wales and Northern Ireland — following a historic referendum vote.
By 55% to 45%, a majority of voters rejected the possibility of Scotland breaking away and becoming an independent nation.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed Scotland’s decision in a televised statement outside 10 Downing Street, saying it was a clear result.
“Like millions of other people, I am delighted,” he said.
Cameron said he would have been heartbroken to see the United Kingdom broken up — but paid tribute to the efforts of both sides in the campaign.
“We hear you,” he said to those who voted for independence, adding this was an opportunity to change the way people in the United Kingdom are governed, and “change it for the better.”
His government has delivered on devolution in the past and will deliver on it again, Cameron said.
A “new and fair settlement” will be created for Scotland and for the other countries of the United Kingdom, he said.