Scotland opts to stay with Britain

VVoters in Scotland have rejected independence from Britain, opting to preserve a more than 300-year-old union in a referendum Thursday that sent shock waves through Europe and opened the door to continuing political tumult in Britain.

With turnout at 84.6% in a contest so closely watched that many pubs got special license to stay open all night as the returns came in, voters dealt a decisive blow to the controversial ballot measure that would have ended Scotland’s union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The independence measure was losing Friday in all-but-final returns, with 55% against independence and 45% voting "yes."

The outcome was a blow to First Minister Alex Salmond and his Scottish National Party, which pushed for the referendum when it won a majority in the Scottish regional parliament in 2011.

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