Humza Yousaf Confirmed as New Scottish Leader

Tue Mar 28 2023
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EDINBURG: Scotland’s parliament on Tuesday confirmed Humza Yousaf would replace Nicola Sturgeon as first minister, the devolved nation’s youngest and the first Muslim leader of a government in Europe.

Yousaf, 37, narrowly won the battle of a Scottish National Party (SNP) leadership on Monday to clinch the party’s top job, vowing to rejuvenate Scotland’s stalled pursuit of independence.

Yousaf then secured the nominations of a majority of lawmakers in the early afternoon vote on Tuesday to become the new first minister. He will be formally sworn in at a ceremony on Wednesday.

Ahead of the affirmative vote, Yousaf acknowledged he had “some very big shoes to fill” succeeding Nicola Sturgeon but vowed to “continue to ensure that Scotland is a progressive, positive voice on the world stage.”

“I will stand up firmly for this parliament and against any attempts to undermine devolution,” Yousaf said, referring to the UK government reforms that handed Scotland a host of authority over domestic policy in 1999.

“I will work continuously to harness the potential of Scotland and every individual,” the new SNP leader said.

Humza Yousaf to be sworn Wednesday

In the hours before the vote, Nicola Sturgeon sent her formal letter of resignation to King Charles III and left the official residence of the first minister in Edinburgh for the last time.

Yousaf will be sworn into the role on Wednesday following formal approval from the king.

SNP leaders are proud of Scotland becoming the first democracy in western Europe to appoint a Muslim as a leader.

“I think what it says about the United Kingdom is that we are a welcoming group of nations, and Scotland in particular,” Stephen Flynn, the party’s leader in the UK parliament, said.

He contrasted that with the United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative government seeking “to ban asylum seekers” through new legislation to tackle boatloads of migrants crossing the Channel.

The seismic shift in Scottish politics follows Nicola Sturgeon’s surprise resignation announcement last month after over eight years at the helm.

It followed a turbulent period for Sturgeon’s government, during which support for independence slipped.

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