New SNP Leader Finally Crowned After Heated Battle
10:13 GMT 27.03.2023 (Updated: 13:32 GMT 27.03.2023)
© AFP 2023 / CRAIG BROUGHContenders to become the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), and Scotland's First Minister, SNP MSP Ash Regan (C), Scotland's Finance Minister and SNP MSP Kate Forbes (R), and Scotland's Health Minister and SNP MSP Humza Yousaf pose for a photograph at a SNP leadership hustings in Aberdeen on March 12, 2023.
© AFP 2023 / CRAIG BROUGH
The election of a new leader of the Scottish National Party was launched after the surprise resignation of former popular party leader, Nicola Sturgeon.
Humza Yousaf has become the next SNP leader.
"I feel like the luckiest man in the world... To serve my country as first minister will be the greatest privilege and honour of my life, should parliament decide to elect me as Scotland's next first minister tomorrow," Yousaf reacted after the results were unveiled.
His contenders in the race were Kate Forbes and Ash Regan, and Yousaf paid tribute to them: "I know that collectively we will continue to work hard as part of team SNP," he said.
Mr. Yousaf was predictably the candidate with the best chances of succeeding Ms. Sturgeon. He previously occupied the posts of transport minister and justice secretary, and currently holds the position of health minister.
His rival Kate Forbes is well-known for her deep Christian conviction, which led to her to opposing gay marriage and criticizing having children outside of wedlock as wrong. Eventually, she lost a great amount of party support.
Some political experts claim that Kate Forbes is more popular in Scotland overall. That being said, she went on maternity leave from her role as finance secretary and has now decided to get back into politics.
“You were a transport minister and the trains were never on time, when you were justice secretary the police were stretched to the breaking point, and now as health minister we’ve got record-high waiting times," Kate Forbes said, criticizing Humza Yousaf.
The third candidate is the not-so-famous, 49-year-old Ash Regan. She had announced her intention to unify the ‘Yes voters’ for Scottish independence, blaming her opponents of being "wishy-washy" on the topic. However, critics mocked Ms. Regan's idea of creating a physical "readiness thermometer" to test Scotland's readiness for independence. The proposed device would allow Scots to monitor progress towards a second vote on the constitution.
The race to occupy the SNP leadership spot is taking place after Nicola Sturgeon had announced her decision to step down, which came as a shock both for her supporters in the Party and in Scotland overall. The country's first woman prime minister said it was of her own free will, because she just knew she should leave at a time that's right.
15 February, 10:02 GMT
And it's not only about Nicola Sturgeon’s departure, her husband and the chief executive Peter Murrell also resigned from his post along with the head of the party's communications, after they persistently denied the record decline in the number of party members that had been previously reported by the media.
On Tuesday, the new SNP leader will face a Holyrood vote to be appointed as the new FM, with the final ceremonial swearing-in taking place on Wednesday at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
The disturbances within the party are taking place against the backdrop of attempts by Scottish nationalists to hold a second independence referendum. The UK Supreme Court ruled on November 23, 2022, that the initiative to hold such a vote falls outside the jurisdiction of the Scottish Parliament.