Scottish Elections Could Ultimately Lead to Breakup of U.K.

Scottish Elections Could Ultimately Lead to Breakup of U.K.

WAKEFIELD, England -- On Thursday (March 29), the Scottish Parliament will dissolve ahead of an election scheduled for May 3, amid one of the most keenly fought campaigns in Scotland's political history. It is an election that could have far reaching consequences for the 300-year political union of Scotland and England and the future of the United Kingdom as a state.

Current polls show that the opposition Scottish National Party (SNP) is as much as six points ahead of the ruling Labour Party and within touching distance of its dream of power.

Although Tony Blair devolved power to Scotland in 1999, giving the country its own parliament and a degree of self-autonomy within the United Kingdom, the prime minister's unpopularity, mainly due to the war in Iraq, has been a major factor in an upsurge in support for the Nationalists. For Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, favorite to replace Blair as prime minister later this year, the stakes could not be higher, as an SNP breakthrough would provide him with a looming constitutional crisis: How could he lead the U.K. if his constituency seat in Fife, Scotland, becomes part of a foreign country?

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