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|Greater Location||United Kingdom|
|Current Ruler|| Queen Elizabeth II (Head of State)|
Nicola Sturgeon (First Minister)
David Cameron (Prime Minister)
|Location Type||Constituent Country|
| Aberdeen City|
Argyll and Bute
Dumfries and Galloway
City of Edinburgh
Perth and Kinross
Na h-Eileanan Siar
| Claymore MacGregor|
Scotland is a constituent country within the United Kingdom. The Scottish Gaelic name is Alba . The national anthem is Flower of Scotland (by fact). The capital city is Edinburgh, but the largest city is Glasgow.
The Scottish head of state is the monarch of the United Kingdom, currently Queen Elizabeth II.
Scotland has limited self-government within the United Kingdom as well as representation in the UK Parliament. Executive and legislative powers have been devolved to the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, Edinburgh. The UK Parliament retains power over a set list of areas explicitly specified in the Scotland Act 1998 as reserved matters, including: levels of UK taxes, social security, defence, international relations and broadcasting.
The Scottish Parliament can give legislative consent over devolved matters back to Westminster by passing a Legislative Consent Motion if United Kingdom-wide legislation is considered more appropriate for a certain issue. The programmes of legislation enacted by the Scottish Parliament have seen a divergence in the provision of public services compared to the rest of the United Kingdom. For instance, university education and care services for the elderly are free at point of use in Scotland, while fees are paid in the rest of the UK. Scotland was the first country in the UK to ban smoking in enclosed public places.
Scottish Parliament is a unicameral legislature with 129 members (MSPs), 73 of whom represent individual constituencies, and are elected on a first past the post system; 56 are elected in eight different electoral regions by the additional member system. MSPs serve for a four-year period (exceptionally five years from 2011–16). The Queen appoints one MSP, nominated by the Parliament, to be First Minister. Other ministers are also appointed by the First Minister and serve at their discretion. Together they make up the Scottish Government, the executive arm of the devolved government.
In the 2011 election, the Scottish National Party (SNP) formed a majority government after winning 69 seats out of 129. This was the first majority government since the modern post-devolution Scottish Parliament was established in 1999, due to the proportional system used. Alex Salmond continued as First Minister. Labour are the largest opposition party, with the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Greens represented in the Parliament. Before her death in 2014, Margo MacDonald was the only independent MSP sitting in parliament. The next Scottish Parliament general election will be held on 5 May 2016.
Scotland is represented in the British House of Commons by 59 MPs elected from Scottish constituencies. The Scotland Office represents the UK government in Scotland on reserved matters and represents Scottish interests within the UK government. The Scotland Office is led by the Secretary of State for Scotland, who sits in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom; the current incumbent is Alistair Carmichael.
On 18 September 2014, there will be a referendum on independence for Scotland. Should there be a majority yes vote, Scotland would become independent from the United Kingdom on 24 March 2016.