Scots to answer "clear yes or no" to independence question
The regional government of Scotland revealed Wednesday the question its population is to be asked in a 2014 referendum that could separate an independent Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom, dpa reported.
First Minister Alex Salmond said his ruling Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) proposed to ask the "short, straightforward and clear" question: "Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?"
However, the approximately 5 million Scots would be given an opportunity in a four-month consultation process to offer their views on what else the ballot paper should say.
Depending on the outcome of the consultation, the SNP would remain open to posing a second question, which would offer "maximum powers" for the regional parliament instead of full independence.
"Although that is not our policy, we remain open to that suggestion," an SNP spokesman told dpa.
The SNP's drive for independence, which would end Scotland's centuries-old union with England, has triggered friction with the British government in London.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has said that while he was "passionate" about preserving the unity of the United Kingdom, it was "only fair" to allow Scots to vote on the issue if they so wished.
Opinion polls in Scotland have shown widespread support for a greater degree of independence from London, for instance in the area of law-making and tax-raising powers, but have fallen short of majority backing for full independence.