Humza Yousaf is first Muslim, Asian elected as Scottish National Party leader
Humza Yousaf is first Muslim, Asian elected as Scottish National Party leader

Humza Yousaf has been elected as leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), succeeding the role of Nicola Sturgeon.

Yousaf won the vote with a 52 per cent majority, against Kate Forbes, who polled 47 per cent. This makes the 37-year-old the first Muslim to lead a major UK party.

He is set to be confirmed as the first ethnic minority leader of a devolved government on Tuesday.

Yousaf is currently Scotland’s health secretary and was widely assumed to be Ms Sturgeon’s preferred successor, although she did not explicitly back any of the candidates in the contest.

The leadership election was decided by the Single Transferable Vote system, with 50,490 of the SNP’s 72,169 members casting a ballot – the vast majority of them online.

In 2012, Yousaf became the youngest person, and the first from an ethnic minority background to be appointed to the Scottish government when he took on the role of Minister for Europe and International Development at age 26.

Yousaf was widely considered the best candidate to smoothly continue Ms Sturgeon’s legacy, sharing many of her passions for independence and progressive values.

“We will deliver independence for Scotland – together as a team. My solemn commitment to you is that I will kickstart our grassroots, civic-led movement and ensure our drive for independence is in fifth gear,” he pledged in his victory speech.

The SNP is the largest political party in Scotland, where it has the most seats in the Scottish Parliament and 45 out of the 59 Scottish seats in the House of Commons at Westminster.

SNP is also the third-largest political party by membership in the United Kingdom, behind the Labour Party and the Conservative Party.

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