A MAJORITY of Scots would prefer an independent Scotland to be a republic rather than keep King Charles as head of state, a new poll has found.
The Panelbase survey found 55 per cent would prefer to have an elected head of state rather than have the current monarch when “don’t knows” were excluded.
In contrast 45 per cent said they would want to keep King Charles as Scotland’s head of state.
The online poll was carried out from December 12 to 16 with 1004 over 16s taking part in the research commissioned by Alex Salmond’s Alba Party.
Neale Hanvey, the party’s Westminster leader, welcomed the poll and said Scotland should have an elected head of state similar to the one in the Republic of Ireland.
“In keeping with Scottish constitutional tradition Alba Party adhere to the principle that it is the people that are sovereign,” said Mr Hanvey.
“Our position is that Scotland should now move to an elected head of state with similar powers to the Uachtarán na hÉireann. Alba firmly stands for Scotland and our priority is to ensure the people of Scotland have the freedom to make this choice soon, as an independent country.”
He added: “At a time that we are faced with the absurdity of millions of our people in Scotland facing fuel poverty, when we are an energy rich land, the institution of monarchy could not be further from detached from reality.
“This is a very welcome poll result and it shows that Alba Party are very much in tune with the people of Scotland.”
The question put to voters taking part in the poll was: “If Scotland votes to become an independent country should Scotland be a republic with an elected head of state or should Scotland keep King Charles as Head of State?”
Excluding “don’t knows” overall 55 per cent favoured an independent Scotland being a republic with an elected head.
The result was considerably higher among independence supporters and younger voters, aged 16 to 34, with 79 per cent and 68 per cent respectively backing a republic.
Some 73 per cent of Scots who voted for the SNP in the constituency part of last year’s Holyrood election were in favour as were 52 per cent of those who voted for Scottish Labour.
Among pro-Union voters, there was considerably higher support for King Charles remaining head of state in an independent Scotland with just 21 per cent preferring a republic.
There are differences of views among the Yes parties over whether an independent Scotland should have a monarch or an elected head of state.
Alba and the Scottish Greens support a republic, while the SNP continue to support the monarchy.
In June this year, Nicola Sturgeon reiterated the SNP’s stance, stressing that the party’s policy on the matter had not changed since 2014’s independence referendum.
Polling expert Professor John Curtice has said that if the independence side is going to win a second referendum, they should backing keeping the monarchy.
He said the First Minister will need to go for “the broadest constituency as possible and not simply appeal to her base”, if she is to achieve independence.
However, there is an ongoing debate on the issue inside the SNP with Tommy Sheppard, the Edinburgh East MP, among prominent figures who support an independent Scotland being a republic.
Writing in The Herald last month, he said the matter should be put to a vote as Scotland moves “towards becoming an independent country”.
He said: “It is entirely possible that Scotland could become an independent nation state which would remain a member of the Commonwealth and retain the King as head of state. It is also possible it might become a republic, which appears to be the direction of travel for many other Commonwealth countries.
“At the moment, we have no right to choose either outcome. As we move towards becoming an independent country, we will need to review everything about how we are governed and develop a modern constitution. That constitution will embody the human and political rights of our citizens and define how we govern ourselves – and it ought to be put to a vote.
“That will be the opportunity for Scotland to decide whether the medieval relics of the monarchy should continue or be abolished. With the coronation on the way, we need to have an open discussion where those who take a republican view are respected and not demonised.”
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