The Scottish independence referendum will take place on Thursday, 18 September, 2014.
Who can vote?
Most people over the age of 16 who live in Scotland will be entitled to vote. As with other UK elections, to get a vote you will need to register in advance. Unlike other UK elections, 16 and 17 year olds will be able to vote in the referendum.
What will the question be?
The referendum question will be: “Should Scotland be an independent country?” and voters will choose yes or no. Whichever option has the most votes will win the referendum, regardless of how many people turn out to vote.
What’s the process?
Constitutional arrangements are the responsibility of the UK Parliament. However, powers have been transferred to allow the Scottish Parliament to legislate for the referendum. This happened in the Referendum Agreement, which was signed by UK’s PM David Cameron and Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond on October 15 2012. As a result of this, the legislation that will allow the referendum to happen is currently making its way through the Scottish Parliament.
Why is this happening now?
This is happening now because the Scottish National Party, who campaign for Scotland to be independent, won a majority at the last Scottish Parliament election.
What happens if there is a Yes vote?
If a majority of those who vote want Scotland to be independent then Scotland would become an independent country after a process of negotiations. Following the negotiations Scotland would leave the United Kingdom and become a new and separate state.
What happens if there is a No vote?
If a majority of those who vote want to stay part of the UK, Scotland would remain a part of the United Kingdom, with its own devolved Parliament. The UK and Scottish governments would continue to make the changes to the powers of the Scottish Parliament and Scottish government that were agreed by the 2 parliaments in the Scotland Act 2012.
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