Scotland’s governing Scottish National Party’s [SNP] youngest First Minister and first elected Pakistan origin leader from a minority ethnic background to hold the post, Humza Yousaf, on Monday promised to bring “independence” to Scotland, sky news reported. The new SNP leader, who is set to become First Minister of Scotland, admitted that the “leadership elections, by their very nature, can be bruising”. After the five-week contest that exposed deep fractures within the pro-independence movement, Yousaf replaced Nicola Sturgeon as the leader of Scotland’s main pro-independence party.
“Over the last five weeks, we may have been competitors or supporters of different candidates. We are no longer team Humza, or team Ash, or team Kate, we are one team. We will be the team, we will be the generation, that delivers independence for Scotland,” Yousaf was quoted as saying during his first speech.
Scotland’s Health Secretary Yousaf won over the country’s Finance Secretary Kate Forbes and former Community Safety Minister Ash Regan during the elections. The results that sealed his victory were announced at Murrayfield stadium in Edinburgh this afternoon. The election turnout in the party’s leadership race was about 70%. Yousaf secured 24,336 votes (48%), Forbes took 20,559 (40%) and Regan took 5,599 (11%) of the total ballots. In the second preference stage, Yousaf got an estimated 26,032 (52%) of the votes, and he defeated Kate Forbes who took 23,890 (48%) votes.
‘This is a journey over generations’
During his victory speech, SNP’s youngest first minister said that he feels “like the luckiest man in the world to be standing here as leader of the SNP”. He thanked his late grandparents, who he stated “made the trip from Punjab to Scotland over 60 years ago”. “We should all take pride in the fact that today we have sent a clear message that the colour of your skin or indeed your faith is not a barrier to leading the country that we all call home,” he was quoted as saying by Scotland-based papers. The 37-year-old son of South Asian immigrants stated that in the SNP “we are a family”.
“This is a journey over generations that reminds us we should be celebrating the migrants to contribute so much to our country,” Scotland’s governing Scottish National Party [SNP’s] First Minister reportedly stressed.