Scotland's separatist government says it wants to stage a referendum in 2010 on breaking away from the rest of the United Kingdom.

But the Scottish National Party faces an uphill struggle because the plan is likely to be voted down in Scotland's legislature.

The nationalists, who announced the plan on Thursday, currently hold the largest number of seats in the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. But parties that oppose separation, taken together, outnumber the nationalists.

The Scottish Parliament already has autonomy on issues pertaining to justice, health and education. Power over defense and foreign affairs remains with London. Although Scotland could raise some taxes, the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh has so far not done so.