BFF-77 BRITAIN-SCOTLAND-BREXIT-INDEPENDENCE-POLITICS

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BRITAIN-SCOTLAND-BREXIT-INDEPENDENCE-POLITICS

Foreign nationals to be offered vote in Scottish Parliament

EDINBURGH, Sept 4, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Scotland’s nationalist government on
Tuesday announced plans to give foreign nationals a vote in the Scottish
Parliament.

Any person living legally in Scotland, wherever they were from, would be
able to elect politicians to the semi-autonomous parliament in Edinburgh and
local councils, under plans announced by Scottish First Minister Nicola
Sturgeon.

The opposition Conservative Party raised concerns that foreign nationals
may also be offered a vote in a second Scottish independence referendum.

Sturgeon’s ambition to take Scotland out of the UK was bolstered by a poll
on Monday suggesting support for independence could open up a five-point lead
if Scotland is taken out of the EU, with 47 percent backing independence
after Brexit against 43 percent who would want to remain part of the UK.

“It is clear that an increasing number of our fellow citizens believe, as
we do, that the best future for Scotland lies in becoming an independent
country,” said Sturgeon on Tuesday.

Her plan to give foreign nationals a vote is designed to protect EU
citizens who stand to lose their right to vote in the Scottish Parliament
after Brexit.

However, she has gone further and pledged to “give fair access to voting
rights for all those who have a legal right to live in Scotland.

“This will mean that citizens of all countries will be treated in the same
way for elections to the Scottish Parliament and local government,” her
latest Programme For Government said.

EU citizens could vote in the 2014 independence referendum, in which
Scotland voted by 55 percent to remain in the UK, as it was linked to the
Scottish Parliament franchise which Sturgeon now wants to open up to
residents from around the world.

Adam Tomkins, the Scottish Conservative’s constitution spokesman, said:
“We’ve already seen the Yes campaign enlist the help of Iran and Russia in
its drive to break up Britain.

“Now it seems Nicola Sturgeon wants to make the whole thing a global open
invitation.”

BSS/AFP/MRI/2302 HRS