EDINBURGH, September 19 (RIA Novosti), Mark Hirst – The leader of the pro-Scottish independence Scottish National Party (SNP), Alex Salmond, is to resign as leader of his party and First Minister of Scotland.
The move comes less than 12 hours after Scottish voters rejected independence in a referendum.
In a statement issued Friday, Salmond said, "I am immensely proud of the campaign which Yes Scotland fought and of the 1.6 million voters who rallied to that cause by backing an independent Scotland.
"I am also proud of the 85 percent turnout in the referendum and the remarkable response of all of the people of Scotland who participated in this great constitutional debate and the manner in which they conducted themselves," Salmond said.
"I believe that in this new exciting situation, redolent with possibility, Party, Parliament and country would benefit from new leadership." "Therefore, I have told the National Secretary of the SNP that I will not accept nomination to be a candidate for leader at the Annual Conference in Perth on 13th-15th November," Salmond said.
"After the membership ballot I will stand down as First Minister to allow the new leader to be elected by due Parliamentary process." Salmond added.
"Until then I will continue to serve as First Minister. After that I will continue to offer to serve as Member of the Scottish Parliament for Aberdeenshire East," Salmond said.
"It has been the privilege of my life to serve Scotland as First Minister. But as I said often during the referendum campaign this is not about me or the SNP. It is much more important than that," Alex Salmond said.
The Scottish independence referendum took place on September 18, with 55.3 percent of Scots voting against independence, resulting in Scotland remaining part of the UK, while 44.7 percent of the population supported independence of Scotland. The referendum saw a turnout of 84.59 percent.