Humza Yousaf elected new SNP leader
Humza Yousaf is set to become Scotland’s youngest first minister and the first person from a minority ethnic background to hold the post after he was elected SNP leader.
After a sometimes fiery and divisive leadership contest, SNP members chose Mr Yousaf, 37, as their party’s new leader, succeeding Nicola Sturgeon.
The current Scottish Health Secretary is expected to be declared Scotland’s sixth first minister after a vote in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday.
Ms Sturgeon, who was Scotland’s longest-serving first minister, announced last month she was stepping down after more than eight years in the job.
Mr Yousaf succeeds her after defeating the current Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes and former community safety minister Ash Regan in what was the SNP’s first leadership contest for almost 20 years.
The result was announced at the BT Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh after the ballot of SNP members closed at noon, with a turnout of 70%.
For first preferences in the single transferrable vote system, Mr Yousaf took 24,336 (48%), Ms Forbes took 20,559 (40%) and Ms Regan took 5,599 (11%) of the vote.
When second preferences were distributed in the second stage, Mr Yousaf took 26,032 (52%) and Ms Forbes took 23,890 (48%).
Mr Yousaf said: “It is hard for me to find the words to describe just how honoured I am to be entrusted by our membership of the SNP to be the party’s next leader and to be on the cusp of being our country’s next first minister.”
He paid tribute to Ms Forbes and Ms Regan, adding: “It’s felt we’ve seen each other more than our respective families.
“You both have put in an incredible shift and I know that collectively we will work hard as part of Team SNP.”
Viewed as the continuity candidate, Mr Yousaf had greater levels of public support from SNP parliamentarians at both Holyrood and Westminster than the other candidates, with high-profile backers including outgoing Deputy First Minister John Swinney, and new SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn.
Mr Yousaf was first elected in 2011 as a regional MSP for Glasgow and was appointed a junior minister the following year, becoming Justice Secretary in 2018.
Congratulating Humza Yousaf on his election, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price and Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts released a joint statement which said: “On behalf of Plaid Cymru we extend our warmest congratulations to Humza Yousaf who carries with him our very best wishes as he takes forward his progressive values as the new leader of the SNP.
“We know that Humza will build on the tireless work of his predecessor, Nicola Sturgeon, by putting fairness and social justice at the heart of the Scottish Government’s mission.
“As the UK Government continues to shamefully deny the Scottish people their democratic right to self-determination, it is more important than ever that Scotland has a First Minister who is strong in conviction and clear in vision.
“The bond between our parties has always been strong and we look forward to this relationship going from strength to strength as we continue to make the case for independence for our nations.”
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