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27 August 2006

Poll: SNP set to seize power at Holyrood - Scotland on Sunday

by EDDIE BARNES, Political Editor, Scotland on Sunday

ALEX Salmond is on track to take Scotland to the brink of independence, according to a startling new poll which shows the SNP has opened up a clear lead over Labour.

With just eight months to go until the Holyrood elections, the party has established a four-point lead over its nearest rivals, and appears to be pulling away.

The SNP claims that if the poll result was repeated at voting booths next year it would eradicate Labour's majority at the Scottish Parliament.

If Salmond becomes First Minister, he has pledged to introduce a bill for an independence referendum within 100 days of taking up office.

The poll is the first major test of public opinion in Scotland since Tony Blair incensed many within his own party over his support for Israel during the conflict in Lebanon.

Both the two main parties in Scotland that oppose Blair's foreign policy, the SNP and Liberal Democrats, appear to have gained as a result, with Labour well down on their 2003 showing.

Polling experts said the results confirmed that next year's election race would be the closest yet for control of the Scottish Parliament.

In an interview with Scotland on Sunday today, the SNP leader set out his plans for his first few weeks in office, declaring he will govern with "a hard head and a soft heart".

... more ... for complete article click on:
http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com
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