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Polls close, counting begins on Scotland independence

 
 
 
 
 
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Polls have closed in Scotland’s referendum that will determine whether Scottish people maintain their union with the rest of the United Kingdom or secede.

The polls, which opened at 7 a.m., closed at 10 p.m. and around breakfast time on Friday, Scots will finally learn whether their land is to end its 307-year union with Britain and become the newest independent nation in the world or remain in the UK.

According to the Electoral Commission, 4,285,323 people registered to vote, and for the first time 16 and 17-year-olds across the country were able to take part.

The question on the ballot was brief and simple: “Should Scotland be an independent country?” Opinion polls before the vote left the result too close to call.

If the “Yes” campaign seeking independence for Scotland secures a majority, England and Scotland will hold talks on the North Sea oil, European Union membership and the United Kingdom’s main nuclear submarine base.

If “No” voters prevail, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron will then have to honor promises of greater autonomy for Scotland, which he earlier made to put a stop to the pro-independence campaign led by Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond.

Concerns are growing over possible vote rigging in the absence of international observers, which may cause the referendum’s outcome to play into the hands of the British government.

The Westminster has repeatedly warned against Scotland’s independence, saying it will jeopardize the UK’s stability and damage its international standing.

Scottish authorities, on the other hand, argue that independence from the UK would free Scotland from London’s austerity policies and unnecessary military spending.

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