Humza Yousaf, Scotland's new independence prime minister

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Humza Yousaf, new independentist prime minister in Scotland

Humza Yousaf is Scotland's first ethnic minority leader.

Scottish separatists on Monday chose Humza Yousaf to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as the new prime minister, promising to lead Scotland to independence this generation.

Aged 37, this close friend of Nicola Sturgeon inherits the delicate mission of reviving a losing independence movement which is coming up against London's obstinate refusal to authorize the holding of a new referendum.


Until then Minister of Health, he becomes the first Muslim to lead a major political party in the United Kingdom. He is due to be elected Prime Minister by the local Parliament in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

We will be the generation that achieves independence for Scotland, Humza Yousaf said in his speech, stressing that the people of Scotland need independence now, more than ever.

After an internal vote triggered by the surprise resignation of Nicola Sturgeon last month after eight years in office, he wins against the Minister of Finance Kate Forbes, with controversial conservative positions, and Ash Regan, a former member of local government.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced her resignation on February 15 after eight years as power.

No candidate having won more than 50% of the vote in this ballot where voters rank the candidates in order of preference, he won the second count, collecting 52.1% of the vote. Over 50,000 members of the Scottish National Party (SNP) took part in the vote, for an electoral body of just over 72,000.

Local government in Scotland, a territory of 5.5 million people, has jurisdiction over many issues including education, health and justice. More broadly, this vote has potentially serious consequences 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.< /p>

But support for independence, at the heart of the program of the SNP, a party rooted in the left, has stagnated.

According to a YouGov opinion poll of March 13, 46% of respondents are in favor of independence (compared to 50% last month). Including the undecided, the proportion drops to 39%.

In the referendum held in 2014, 45% of Scots voted for independence.

The independence cause had however been revived by Brexit, which had been opposed 62% of Scots, the SNP seeing a break with London as the way to return to the European Union.

Humza Yousaf says too much time has been spent pointing out the failures of the British government in London and not enough time creating a vision for an independent Scotland. He pledged on Monday to launch a grassroots movement for self-determination.

Ipsos says Kate Forbes is Scotland's favorite candidate , with 27% of favorable opinions, against 22% for Humza Yousaf and 14% for Ash Regan.

But within the SNP, Humza Yousaf came out on top, with 38 %. Kate Forbes is not far behind with 37% (22% for Regan).

Kate Forbes had a rocky start to the campaign due to her conservative views. She is a member of the Free Church of Scotland, which opposes same-sex marriage and abortion.

Humza Yousaf embodied continuity with positions progressive on social issues and anchored on the left on the economy, wishing for example to increase taxes on the richest. He was criticized for his record in his various posts in the Scottish government.

Nicola Sturgeon, 52, announced her resignation on February 15 to everyone's surprise, saying she had run out of energy after eight years in office.

The British Supreme Court also ruled last year that the government Scotland could not hold a new referendum without London's agreement.

But Nicola Sturgeon said she was confident her successor would succeed in lead Scotland to independence.

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