(Edinburgh) Independentist Humza Yousaf was formally elected Scotland’s first minister on Tuesday in a vote in local parliament, becoming its first immigrant and Muslim leader.
Humza Yousaf, 37, was elected leader of the majority Scottish Independence Party (SNP) on Monday, following an internal ballot triggered by the surprise resignation of Nicola Sturgeon last month after eight years in office.
Humza Yousaf, whose paternal grandparents immigrated to Glasgow from Pakistan 60 years ago, will formally take office on Wednesday after being formally appointed to the post by Royal Warrant and sworn in before the Court of Session, Scotland’s Supreme Court .
“ It is a proud day for me and my family, and I hope it is also a proud day for Scotland, because it says a lot about our values ”, rejoiced with emotion Mr. Yousaf right after the vote.
He took power at a time when the fight for independence seemed to have stalled, reigniting divisions within the SNP and whetting the appetites of the Conservatives, in power in London, and the Labor opposition.
Facing the deputies, he paid tribute in Parliament to Nicola Sturgeon, who had officially sent his letter of resignation to Charles III on Tuesday morning.
“She will be difficult to replace”, he said, promising to “continue to ensure that Scotland has a progressive voice on the world stage”.
His task promises to be difficult, underline Tuesday the British newspapers. The Telegraph believes that the departure of the charismatic Nicola Sturgeon marks “ the end of the heroic period ” of the independence party.
After his victory on Monday, Humza Yousaf, until then Minister of Health, promised to be part of “the generation that will obtain independence”, stressing that “the people” of Scotland “need independence now, more than ever “.
The independence cause, relaunched by Brexit, which the Scots massively opposed, seems to be at an impasse. The British Supreme Court recently dismissed Nicola Sturgeon’s desire to organize a new referendum, after the “no” victory in 2014.
In London, Minister for Scotland Allister Jack, while congratulating Humza Yousaf, called on him to “put aside his obsession with independence to focus on his work with the British government to improve the lives of Scots “.
The Scottish government has jurisdiction over many issues including education, health and justice.
According to a March 13 YouGov poll, 46% of those polled favor independence (up from 50% last month). Including the undecided, the proportion drops to 39%.
Humza Yousaf “needs to make sure he leads and reinvigorates the campaign for independence, that we have a discussion about what kind of country Scotland should become”, former SNP MP leader Ian Blackford said on Tuesday. in the British Parliament, on Sky news.
In addition to this major issue for the future of the United Kingdom, whose divisions between its four constituent nations (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) have been aggravated by Brexit, Humza Yousaf will have to convince the Scots that the SNP can solve their problems.
According to an Ipsos poll published on Tuesday, half of them consider that Scotland is “going in the wrong direction” and that the government has done “a bad job” in terms of health, education or the evolution of the level of life.
The new leader embodies continuity, with progressive positions on social issues and anchored on the left on the economy, wishing for example to increase taxes on the richest in Scotland, which has a population of 5.5 million.
He also supports the controversial law facilitating gender change, which was blocked by London and which put Nicola Sturgeon in difficulty.
But the election, which Humza Yousaf did not win with a significant lead over his more conservative rival, showed “ how much change is needed ”, believes The Guardian.