Scottish nationalists chose Humza Yousaf as the country’s next leader after a bitter battle that exposed deep divisions within his party over policy and a stalled independence campaign.
37-year-old practicing Muslim succeeds Nicola Sturgeon He is the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and will become head of the semi-autonomous government if approved by the Scottish Parliament.
Yousaf, who will become the first Muslim to lead a country in Western Europe, said he would focus on tackling the cost of living crisis, ending divisions within the party and pushing for a renewed independence.
“Scottish people need independence now more than ever and we will be the generation to make it happen,” he said in a speech in Edinburgh after the results were announced.
Yousaf’s win was confirmed at the National Rugby Stadium after a six-week campaign in which the three contenders spent much of the contest criticizing each other’s records with a series of personal attacks.
One of the strengths of the SNP, the unity of the SNP, was not only how the second independence referendum came about, transgender rights.
Yousuf takes over the party with the overriding purpose of ending the three-century alliance between Scotland and England. His predecessor resigned after the British government repeatedly blocked the way for a new vote on independence.
About four in 10 Scots support independence, according to this month’s poll, but the departure of the charismatic and commanding leader Sturgeon is behind Britain’s split at first. It could slow some of the momentum.
Yousaf won 52% of SNP members’ votes in the second tally, beating Treasury Secretary Kate Forbes, who won 48%. Ash Regan, who resigned from the government for opposing proposed changes to gender identity, was eliminated in the first round.
Corey Brown Swan, a political science lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast, said it would be difficult for the party to unite after a divisive leadership battle.
“It’s a broad church of the party that embraces different ideologies and opinions on matters beyond independence,” she said.
Yousaf, the frontrunner to replace Sturgeon, emphasized the continuity of her record, including efforts to make it easier for transgender people to gain official approval to change their gender.
Yousaf spoke of the need to focus on building a case for independence and achieving consistent support for the movement, and he opened up about what process to pursue once that level of support was achieved. He added that there were
He points to his own upbringing, being born in Glasgow to a father from Pakistan and a mother from Kenya, and sees it as an example of the inclusive, socially liberal and multi-ethnic Scotland that the SNP promoted.
During the campaign, Yousuf appeared more relaxed than Forbes, a member of the Free Church of Scotland.
When Forbes announced it was against same-sex marriage, he faced criticism, but Yousaf said he would stand by it. Said to come from a heritage of ‘bangla and bagpipes’.
Scotland voted against independence 55% to 45% in 2014. Two years after her, the UK voted to leave the EU at a time when most Scots wanted to remain, and Scotland’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic sparked renewed support for independence. brought.
However, in this month’s poll, support for independence fell to 39%, and 46% when ‘don’t know’ is excluded. This compares with the all-time high of 58% in 2020.
Asked whether the UK government would allow Yousaf to hold an independence referendum, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said his position had not changed and that the people’s priorities were health care and health care, not a new vote on segregation. said to be the economy.
https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/world/486846/humza-yousaf-wins-race-to-be-scotland-s-next-leader-vowing-to-revive-independence Humza Yousaf wins race to be Scotland’s next leader, vows to restore independence