Following the surprise resignation of Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon on February 15, the leadership contest between SNP party members has now come to an end. Humza Yousaf has been officially named the new leader of the Scottish National Party, meaning he is also set to become Scotland’s next first minister.
The leadership race was between Health Secretary Humza Yousaf, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes and former community safety minister Ash Regan. Yousaf received a total of 24,336 (48.2%) of first preference votes, and second preference votes totalled at 26,032 which meant 52.1% of the total votes.
Kate Forbes came second, with a total of 23,890 (47.9%) votes. While it looks like a close call, Scotland will officially have a new first minister.
Following the news, Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “I pay tribute to all 3 candidates for the SNP leadership for rising to the challenge. Most of all I congratulate Humza Yousaf and wish him every success. He will be an outstanding leader & First Minister and I could not be prouder to have him succeed me.”
Following his win, Mr Yousaf said: “Leadership elections, by their very nature, can be bruising. […] However, in the SNP we are a family. […] We are no longer team Humza, or team Ash, or team Kate, we are one team.”
What happens next?
Yousaf will now be facing a new vote at Holyrood on Tuesday (March 28) to confirm his election as Scotland’s first minister. However, anyone from any party can also be put forward for a vote, and local MSPs will then vote for their preferred candidate.
If the election is deemed unsuccessful within 28 days, an election will then take place allowing the general public to have their say.
Once elected, the new first minister is expected to face serious challenges such as creating a plan for independence, the gender recognition reforms, alleviating the cost of living crisis, and tackling the NHS issues.