Tue, 30 May 2023

Humza Yousaf succeeds Nicola Sturgeon as SNP leader

28 Mar 2023, 02:18 GMT+10

LONDON, March 27 (Xinhua) -- Humza Yousaf was elected as leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) on Monday, the first Muslim to lead a major UK party.

It was announced around 2:00 p.m. local time that Scottish Health Secretary Yousaf had won the Party's leadership election, beating finance secretary Kate Forbes and lawmaker Ash Regan.

In his victory speech, 37-year-old Yousaf said his immediate priority will be protecting the Scottish people from the cost of living crisis, recovering and reforming vital public services, and supporting the economy.

It will be confirmed by Scottish lawmakers on Tuesday that Yousaf will succeed the current First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's longest-serving leader. Sturgeon announced her resignation last month.

Yousaf will become the first person of color and the first Muslim to serve as Scottish First Minister.

With Yousaf as leader, the SNP will keep on pushing for another referendum on Scottish independence, which could pose a challenge to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

In a referendum held in 2014, 55 percent of Scottish voters chose to remain part of the UK. Although the SNP wanted a fresh referendum on the issue, the UK Supreme Court ruled last November that Scotland does not have the power to hold one without the approval of the UK Parliament.

"The people of Scotland need independence now more than ever before, and we will be the generation that delivers it," Yousaf said after the election result was announced.

The new Party leader will also face a more divided SNP, due to Sturgeon's resignation and the leadership contest.

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