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Scotland votes ‘no’ to independence in historic referendum

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GLASGOW, Scotland (CNN) — Scotland will remain part of the United Kingdom — along with England, Wales and Northern Ireland — following a historic referendum vote.

A majority of voters rejected the possibility of Scotland breaking away and becoming an independent nation.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond admitted defeat in a televised statement early Friday — and urged the rest of Scotland to do the same.

He thanked Scotland “for 1.6 million votes for Scottish independence.”

A turnout of 86% is one of the highest in the democratic world for any such vote, he said.

Salmond hailed the political engagement seen in Scotland during the campaign and appealed for unity going forward.

“Today of all days, as we bring Scotland together, let us not dwell on the distance we have fallen short. Let us dwell on the distance we have traveled and have confidence that a movement is abroad in Scotland that will take this nation forward, and we shall go forward as one nation.”

UK Prime Minister David Cameron is due to give a statement on the outcome of the vote.

With 31 of 32 of councils reporting, the “No” campaign had garnered enough votes to secure their victory, and with it Scotland’s continued place within the United Kingdom.

The first councils to declare all went to the “No” campaign, as did the capital, Edinburgh, which voted overwhelmingly to stay in the union with 123,927 for “Yes” and 194,628 “No” votes. Argyll and Bute and Aberdeenshire also voted “No.”

Glasgow delivered a solid win for the independence camp with 194,779 votes for “Yes,” and 169,347 for “No,” but the lead was not big enough to overturn the “No” camp’s overall majority.

With one result to come, the “No” camp maintains an 8% (54% to 46%) lead over the pro-independence camp.