EDINBURGH: The campaign for Scottish independence appeared to accept defeat in a historic referendum on Friday but results so far indicate that Scotland is deeply divided.
With 29 of the 32 regions declared, the BBC said it believed the campaign to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom had won following a turnout of more than 80 percent.
“If that is the result for the referendum then clearly I am deeply disappointed,” Scottish National Party (SNP) deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon told the broadcaster.
“It looks at though we might not get the Yes vote that I was hoping for,” the Scottish deputy first minister said.
The latest tally indicated that with three regions yet to declare, 55 percent of Scots voted “No” to independence and 45 percent voted “Yes”.
At count centres across Scotland, there were loud cheers and clapping from smiling “No” campaigners, with some unfurling the British Union Jack flag.
The vote has been watched closely around the world, particularly in countries with strong separatist movements who were encouraged by the force of the “Yes” campaign.
The prospect of a vote for independence had sparked volatility in financial markets and caused the pound to tumble, but it surged to a more than two-year high against the euro on Friday on the early results.
The outcome will be a huge relief for British Prime Minister David Cameron, who many suggested could not have survived if he oversaw the break-up of the 300-year-old United Kingdom.
The Conservative leader is expected to make a live television address to the nation later in the morning, but will likely avoid any sense of triumph.
In a tweet after the BBC called the result, Cameron said simply that he had spoken to the leader of the “No” campaign, Alistair Darling, “and congratulated him on a well-fought campaign”.