Scots parliament to confirm Yousaf as first minister - RTHK
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Scots parliament to confirm Yousaf as first minister

2023-03-28 HKT 11:50
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  • Humza Yousaf beat out two SNP rivals to clinch the party's top job. Photo: AP
    Humza Yousaf beat out two SNP rivals to clinch the party's top job. Photo: AP
Scotland's devolved lawmakers are set to confirm Humza Yousaf as the new first minister on Tuesday, after he narrowly won the contest to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as Scottish National Party (SNP) leader.

Yousaf beat out two SNP rivals on Monday to clinch the party's top job, vowing to rejuvenate its signature policy of pursuing independence for Scotland which has stalled in recent months.

The 37-year-old will be the youngest first minister since devolution created the Scottish parliament in 1999, and the first leader of a national UK party from a minority ethnic background.

"We should all take pride in the fact that today we have sent a clear message that your colour of skin, or your faith, is not a barrier to leading the country we all call home," Yousaf said after winning the SNP leadership race.

Promising to be a leader "for all of Scotland", he pledged to "kickstart" a civic movement that would "ensure our drive for independence is in fifth gear".

"We will be the generation that delivers independence for Scotland," he declared in his victory speech.

Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) will vote to confirm a new first minister at lunchtime, with Yousaf ensured of succeeding Sturgeon given the SNP is the largest party.

He will then be sworn in at a ceremony on Wednesday.

The seismic shift in Scottish politics follows Sturgeon's surprise resignation announcement last month after more than eight years at the helm.

The 52-year-old said she was quitting because she felt unable to give "every ounce of energy" to the job.

But it followed a difficult period for her government, during which support for independence has slipped.

Recent surveys show around 45 percent of Scots support Scotland leaving the United Kingdom – the same tally recorded in a 2014 referendum which London insists settles the matter for a generation.