They were three candidates for the chair of leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP): Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes and Ash Regan. The party members chose the most experienced of all. Entering the government in 2012, Humza Yousaf has in fact been in turn justice secretary and transport minister. Aged 37, this close ally of Nicola Sturgeon, of whom he was health minister, becomes leader of the independence party this Monday, March 27, and must be elected, Tuesday, prime minister by the local Parliament of Holyrood.
After the arrival at the head of the British government of Rishi Sunak, originally from India, Humza Yousaf is the first Scottish prime minister from an ethnic minority. Born in Glasgow, he also became the first Muslim propelled to the head of a major political party in the United Kingdom. Her father, originally from Pakistan, emigrated to Scotland with his family in 1960. Her mother was born in Kenya to a South Asian family.
“Leadership elections, by their very nature, can be deadly,” he said following the poll, referring to the fractures caused by the campaign. However, at the SNP we are a family (…) We will be the team, we will be the generation that will deliver independence to Scotland. For SNP Vice-President John Swinney there is no doubt that his young colleague will complete “our journey to independence”. Statements immediately rejected by London.
Fifth leader of this left-wing party, founded in 1934, and which has dominated Scottish political life in recent years, his talents as a communicator will be necessary for him to reunite the party, very divided since the departure of Nicola Sturgeon, and maintain the agreement. government with the Scottish Greens. Humza Yousaf will also have to remotivate his troops under the banner of independence. The spearhead of Nicola Sturgeon’s policy, this fight has given way to other priorities since the Covid: purchasing power, health and the fight against poverty. The SNP is also experiencing a certain hemorrhage: its troops have shrunk from 104,000 to 72,000 members since December 2021.
Distance from Nicola Sturgeon
During the election campaign, he distanced himself from Nicola Sturgeon’s plan to use the next election as a de facto referendum, saying he would instead seek to build a “constant majority” in favor of the independence. It “is not enough to have polls that put support for independence at 50% or 51%,” he said. If he praises the former prime minister for his work, Humza Yousaf recalled “that he would do things (his) way”.
The leaders of the Scottish Independence Party have so far had a rather exceptional longevity in politics. Alex Salmond, elected in 2004, remained in office for ten years, before being replaced by Nicola Sturgeon, appointed in 2014 to succeed him, following the failure of the first referendum for independence: 55.4% of Scots had voted against, 44.6% for. She remained eight years at the head of the party before resigning to everyone’s surprise on February 15, leaving behind a party plagued by doubt.