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Yousaf sworn in as Scotland’s first minister

Humza Yousaf has set to work appointing his cabinet after being sworn in as first minister of Scotland following the resignation of Nicola Sturgeon.

March 30, 2023
30 March 2023

Humza Yousaf has been sworn in as the first minister of Scotland and he will start appointing his cabinet.

The 37-year-old practising Muslim succeeds Nicola Sturgeon as leader of the governing Scottish National Party (SNP) after winning the leadership election on Monday.

He was elected first minister by Scottish MPs on Tuesday and the administering of the three oaths of office at the Court of Session on Wednesday made his appointment official.

Yousaf pledged his allegiance to the King, as well as to serve him in the role as first minister and keeper of the seal of Scotland.

His family watched on from the public gallery. Yousaf will spend the rest of Wednesday appointing his cabinet.

Yousaf’s victory as SNP leader was confirmed after a six-week campaign between three candidates.

The SNP’s unity, which had been one of its strengths, broke down over arguments about how to achieve a second independence referendum and the best way to introduce social reforms such as transgender rights.

Yousaf takes over a party with an overriding objective to end Scotland’s three-centuries-long union with England.

But while about four in 10 Scots still support independence, according to a poll this month, the departure of Sturgeon – a charismatic and commanding leader – might slow some of the momentum behind a break up of the United Kingdom.

There is no agreed strategy for how to force a new referendum – one of the reasons Sturgeon resigned.

The fierce leadership contest relieved some pressure on UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is dealing with divisions in his own party, waves of industrial action and high levels of inflation.

The frontrunner to replace long-serving leader Sturgeon, Yousaf stressed continuity with her record including her push to make it easier for transgender people to gain official recognition to change their gender.

Yousaf spoke of the need to focus on building the case for independence and achieving consistent support for the movement, adding he was open minded on which process to pursue once that level of support was achieved.

Yousaf pointed to his own background – born in Glasgow, with a father from Pakistan and mother from Kenya – and views as examples of the inclusive, socially liberal and multi-ethnic Scotland that the SNP has promoted.

PA and Reuters

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