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Vote sought on Scottish independence

LONDON - Scotland’s leader has presented his proposal for a ballot on independence - and his ideas include letting 16- and 17-year-olds cast ballots in a vote that could see the breakup of Britain within four years.

First Minister Alex Salmond announced the Scottish government’s preferred options for the vote on whether to sever ties from Britain, which it plans to hold in the fall of 2014. A “yes’’ vote would lead to independence taking effect with a May 2016 election for the Scottish Parliament.

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Scotland and England united in 1707 to form Great Britain. Scotland gained significant autonomy after voting in 1997 to set up the Edinburgh-based Scottish Parliament, but some Scots want to go further and make the nation of 5 million people an independent country within the European Union.

Salmond told Scottish lawmakers in Edinburgh yesterday that the voting age should be lowered from the current 18 to 16, the age in Scotland that one can enter the army.

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