Scottish parliament passes referendum bill

EDINBURHG:  The Scottish parliament Thursday passed a bill to allow the people of Scotland to choose whether Scotland should be an independent country.

Members of the Scottish parliament voted in favour of the Scottish Independence Referendum Bill following a final debate on the legislation Thursday afternoon, Xinhua reported quoting a Scottish government press releaseas saying.

The bill confirms that the people of Scotland will vote in a referendum Sep 18 next year on the question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?” The vote will be run to the highest international standards and will be overseen by an independent electoral commission.

The vote will be preceded by a 16-week formal campaign period, and the referendum will be conducted under the direction of a chief counting officer responsible for appointing local counting officers to run the poll in local areas, it added.

Scottish Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon termed the vote as a truly historic moment for Scotland. “This government believes independence will benefit everyone” in Scotland, she said.

Last month, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond revealed the Scottish government will publish its blueprint or white paper for independence Nov 26 to explain in great detail what an independent Scotland should be like.

The Scottish Independence Referendum Bill follows the Edinburgh Agreement signed by British Prime Minister David Cameron and Salmond at Edinburgh in October 2012, which confirmed that it was for the Scottish parliament to introduce the bill to set out the details of how the referendum will be organised and regulated.

The bill was introduced in March this year. Agencies

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