Scotland’s governing Scottish National Party was poised Saturday to win its fourth straight parliamentary election, but the party’s anticipated inability to secure a majority could complicate its ambition to hold another referendum on the country’s independence from the U.K.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon‘s Scottish National Party (SNP) won 64 seats in Thursday’s election, the final vote count result showed Saturday.
The vote count, which lasted for two days due to coronavirus precautions, showed that SNP has failed to reach the overall majority by a single seat in the 129-seat Parliament.
However, with the latest count coming in, a pro-independence majority in Holyrood is clear now with Greens also winning eight seats.
Sturgeon described the result as “extraordinary and historic.”
She earlier pledged to go ahead with plans for a second independence referendum, dubbed indyref2, after her party won its fourth consecutive election.
She said Scottish voters gave the new Parliament a clear mandate by electing a pro-independence majority.
“Given the outcome of this election, there is simply no democratic justification whatsoever for Boris Johnson or anyone else seeking to block the right of the people of Scotland to choose our future,” Sturgeon said.
“If the Tories make such an attempt it will demonstrate conclusively that the UK is not a partnership of equals and that-astonishingly-Westminster no longer sees the UK as a voluntary union of nations,” she added.
“That in itself would be a most powerful argument for Scotland becoming an independent country.”
Speaking to Channel 4 News, Sturgeon said her new government would legislate for the vote “and if Boris Johnson wants to stop that he would have to go to court.”
Responding to remarks by Johnson that any attempt on the indyref2 would be blocked by the central UK government, Sturgeon said “if this was in almost any other democracy in the world it would be an absurd discussion.”
“If people in Scotland vote for a pro-independence majority in the Scottish Parliament, no politician has got the right to stand in the way of that,” she said.
“You will not succeed, the only people who can decide the future of Scotland are the Scottish people.”
There is “no democratic justification” if London tries to block a second referendum on Scottish independence, Sturgeon said.
The new Parliament now has a pro-independence majority which would be enough to legislate a second referendum.
Johnson has constantly rejected the idea of a new referendum on Scottish independence, repeatedly saying that Scots made their choice in a 2014 referendum.
However, Sturgeon has argued that circumstances have changed with Brexit, and Scotland has been dragged from the EU against its will as 62% voted to remain part of the bloc in 2016.
Conservatives have won 31 seats, Labour 22, Greens 8, and Liberal Democrats secured 2 seats.