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'Scotland's voice will be heard more loudly than ever before'

In Scotland, the Scottish National Party (SNP) won almost all seats in Thursday's British election. SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has cautioned PM David Cameron not to ignore the wishes of the Scottish voters.

"My message today to Westminster is this: Scotland's voice will be heard in Westminster now more loudly than it has ever been before", SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said on Saturday after her party won almost all seats in Scotland in Thursday's British election. "As I told the prime minister when I spoke to him yesterday, it simply cannot be and will not be business as usual when it comes to Westminster's dealing with Scotland."

Cameron's Conservatives won a surprise overall majority in the national parliament, but only one seat in Scotland. 319 of the 331 seats taken by the Conservatives were in England. The pro-independence Scottish National Party won 56 of Scotland's 59 seats by vowing to stand up for Scotland in Westminster and end the spending cuts imposed by Cameron's finance minister, George Osborne, who

will retain his position after Cameron's re-election.

"The people of Scotland on Thursday voted for an SNP manifesto which had ending austerity as its number one priority," Nicola Sturgeon said, adding that the party would not let them down.

Last September, the majority of Scots voted against independence in a referendum. However, the SNP's campaigning still convinced many Scots, even some who are not supporting Scottish independence, that it should represent them in parliament.

Uncertain future of the Union

Sturgeon did not mention independence in her speech after the SNP's landslide success. However, Alex Salmond, the former SNP head newly elected as an SNP lawmaker in London, told reporters that he would "absolutely" see Scotland's independence in his lifetime.

After his unexpected victory, David Cameron promised to keep the United Kingdom together by devolving more powers to Scotland - including new tax-raising powers - and being fair to England at the same time. England does not have a regional government similar to those of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

London mayor Boris Johnson, who aspires to lead the Conservatives, even called for the UK to adopt a federal structure.

In their Saturday editions, many newspaper editorials in Great Britain voiced concerns over Cameron possibly being the last leader of a truly United Kingdom. The Independent wrote that the election "leaves the prospect of the UK still being in one piece at the next general election in 2020 in some doubt". The "Daily Telegraph" argued that "the biggest problem facing Mr. Cameron is the future of the Union."

das/bw (Reuters, AP)

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