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Scots, Northern Irish eye UK escape after Brexit vote

Gorkha Post

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EDINBURGH — Britain’s vote to leave the European Union has put the question of Scottish freedom once more into play, with Scotland having voted vigorously for the UK to stay in the alliance.

While dominant parts of voters in England and Wales upheld the campaign to leave the 28-country alliance, the UK’s two different regions of Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to stay.

Hot on the heels of Friday’s results, nationalist leaders in both countries vowed to leave the UK if that is the required price to keep their homelands fully connected to Europe.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the result put another independence referendum ‘on the table’, adding that it was ‘highly likely’ within two years.

Scotland, where nationalists already in power narrowly lost a 2014 independence referendum, appears poised to be first out the UK door if its English neighbors don’t manage a negotiated U-turn to remain inside the EU.

“As things stand, Scotland faces the prospect of being taken out of the EU against our will. I regard that as democratically unacceptable,” she said.

Throughout the 2014 campaign Ms Sturgeon made it clear that if Scotland was pulled out of the EU against its will,  that would be grounds for a second referendum on seceding from the United Kingdom.

The UK as a whole voted by 52 per cent to 48 per cent to leave the EU. However, Scotland voted strongly for Britain to remain — by 62 per cent to 38 per cent — with a majority in all 32 of its local authority areas.

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Wales and England, except London, voted for Britain to leave the EU, while Northern Ireland voted for it to stay in.

Ms Sturgeon said her devolved government would now draw up legislation to allow a second Scottish independence referendum.

Citing a clause in her Scottish National Party manifesto, she said there had now been a “significant and material change in the circumstances in which Scotland voted against independence” in 2014, when 55 per cent of Scots voted to stay in the UK.

Next door, Irish nationalists in the long-disputed UK region of Northern Ireland say the British vote has reignited their demands for an all-island referendum to reunite the two parts of Ireland after 95 years of partition.

They argue that a British withdrawal from the EU would force authorities in both parts of Ireland to renew customs and security controls on what would become the UK’s only land border with an EU state, the Republic of Ireland.

Agencies

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New govt likely to have 18 ministers

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KATHMANDU — The new government is likely to have 15 to 18 ministries in total as Prime mInister KP Sharma Oli is preparing to give his cabinet a full shape.

As per discussion between Prime Minister Oli and CPN-Maoist Centre Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the government may include Madhes-based parties to make the government inclusive and have two-thirds majority in the Parliament.

According to Article 76 (9) of the constitution, the number of ministers cannot exceed 25 in the federal Cabinet. With the new constitution limiting the size of Council of Ministers to 25, the new governing team could be limited to 18 members including three state ministers. A formal decision on the matter is yet to be taken.

Speaking at a program organised in Kathmandu on Tuesday, UML leader Pradeep said: “Cabinet expansion is likely to take place on Wednesday. A few Maoist ministers will be joining the Oli government.”

“Our taskforce has recommended that the government form a 15-member Cabinet. Some of the ministries will be integrated and others scrapped.”

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Ishwor Pokhrel, Pradeep Gyawali, Rabindra Adhikari, Raghubir Mahaseth, Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal and Padma Aryal are the probable ministerial candidates from the UML.

Like3wise, Maoist chair Dahal and senior CPN-MC leaders Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Ram Bahadur Thapa have been given the responsibility of selecting ministers from their party.

Probable ministerial candidates from the Maoist Centre include Ram Bahadur Thapa, Matrika Yadav, Pampha Bhusal, Devendra Poudel, Lekhraj Bhatta, Chakrapani Khanal, Pun, Girirajmani Pokhrel and Dev Gurung, according to the sources.

Thapa may lead the CPN-MC in the government as deputy prime minister. Yadav is being considered for appointment since he represents Madhes, Bhusal as a woman while Poudel is one of the leaders who joined the party lately. Poudel had left the Baburam Bhattarai-led Naya Shakti Party to join the Maoist Centre just ahead of unification talks with the UML.

Leaders involved in discussions said the Maoist Centre could appoint up to eight ministers if the Cabinet size does not exceed 18.

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