Scots to hold independence referendum in 2014

EDINBURGH -- British PM David Cameron and Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond have signed an agreement that will allow for a referendum on Scottish independence.

(Beta/AP)
(Beta/AP)

Under the agreement, Scotland will be given one hundred weeks to make its most important political decisions in the past 300 years.

The move could be a prelude to the biggest changes in the UK since the Republic of Ireland won its independence in 1920, the British media are reporting.

The referendum question will ask Scots to declare themselves on the territory's independence, while the provided answers will be "yes" and "no".

Both governments made concessions in order to reach the agreement that enables the one in London to give the Scottish Parliament the authority to organize the binding vote, most likely in the fall of 2014.

The process will be overseen by the British Election Commission.

According to a recent poll, a majority of Scots wish to stay in the UK, while between 30 and 40 percent support independence. However, there is a large number of those who are still undecided.

Scotland and England were united in 1707 and formed the United Kingdom, with a common monarch, currency and government, headquartered in London. Scotland has since gained considerable autonomy, including its own parliament, which sits in Edinburgh.

However, some residents of Scotland want to establish an independent state within the European Union.

Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), managed to - after the victory of his party in the parliamentary election in Scotland in 2011 - launch an unofficial campaign to pave the way for the referendum.

"The agreement will see Scotland take an important step toward independence, and the means to create a fairer and more prosperous Scotland. I look forward to working positively for a yes vote in 2014." said Salmond.

Cameron stated that the two governments reached an agreement on the organization of the referendum that will be "legal, fair and decisive":

This marks the beginning of an important chapter in Scotland's story and allows the real debate to begin. It paves the way so that the biggest question of all can be settled: a separate Scotland or a United Kingdom? I will be making a very positive argument for our United Kingdom."