scottish_referendumEdinburgh: Alex Salmond is to step down as first minister of Scotland after voters decisively rejected independence. He will also resign as leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) after the “No” side won Thursday’s referendum by 2,001,926 votes to 1,617,989 for “Yes”, BBC reported.

The national split of the vote was 55 percent for “No” to 45 percent for “Yes”.

“For me as leader my time is nearly over but for Scotland the campaign continues and the dream shall never die,” Salmond said from Bute House in Edinburgh, the first minister’s official residence.

He told journalists: “I am immensely proud of the campaign that Yes Scotland fought and particularly of the 1.6m voters who rallied to that cause.”

Salmond also said there were a “number of eminently qualified and very suitable candidates for leader”, although the current deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon, also deputy SNP leader, would be seen as a clear frontrunner.