The people of Scotland were on Tuesday given a glimpse of what the future would look like if they decide to vote for independence in a referendum next year as the Scottish government unveiled a “transition” plan which would see the country become formally independent in March 2016 — severing its 300-year-old union with the United Kingdom (U.K.).

The “declaration of independence” would be followed by elections to Parliament in May, and the new independent Parliament would draw up a written constitution reflecting “the values of the people of Scotland”, according to a 16-page document published by the ruling Scottish National Party (SNP).

One of its main features would be to outlaw “weapons of mass destruction”.

“Today’s paper provides the people of Scotland with a clear road map as to how Scotland would make the journey — from a devolved system of government with the levers of power retained at Westminster, to a nation in which the powers of our national Parliament are complete and in which the people are sovereign”, said Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Alex Salmond, leader of the SNP and Scotland’s First Minister, said the time-line for transition was in line with the experience of other countries which gained independence. “We’re putting forward what we think is the best future for Scotland, the best way to do it. We’re putting forward how the processes will unveil,” he said.

Little support?

Critics, however, accused him of putting the cart before the horse pointing out that there was little support for a “yes” vote with a new poll showing that only 32 per cent were in favour of independence.

In the referendum to be held in the autumn of 2014 people will asked to say “yes” or “no” to a single question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

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