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Scotland: who to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as Prime Minister?


Members of the SNP, the ruling independence party in Scotland, have until Monday afternoon to decide between the three candidates to succeed Nicola Sturgeon.

It is this Monday afternoon that the smoke will be white.

After the surprise resignation of Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in February, members of the ruling independence party, the Scottish National Party (SNP) had until today to participate in the internal ballot which will decide between the three candidates running .

Scotland is a member of the United Kingdom and therefore placed under the authority of the government of Rishi Sunak, but the Scottish local government is competent on many subjects including education, health and justice.

More broadly, this election is important for the future of the United Kingdom, whose divisions between the four constituent nations (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) have been aggravated by Brexit.

Independence is at the heart of the program carried by the SNP.

But support for this cause is stagnating.

According to a YouGov poll on March 13, 46% of Scots favor independence (compared to 50% last month).

However, this is a little more than during the referendum organized in 2014, when 45% of Scots voted for independence.

This cause was indeed revived by Brexit, which was opposed by 62% of Scots.

From now on, the SNP is making the break with London a means of returning to the European Union.

Read alsoScotland: after the departure of Nicola Sturgeon, the separatists in uncertainty

It is not the Scottish nation (5.5 million inhabitants) as a whole who is called upon to vote, but only the members of the SNP - which has just over 72,000 members, a figure much lower than that previously estimated. .

In 2021, the SNP claimed 104,000 members, and 125,000 in 2019. The designation process has been the subject of strong internal criticism at the SNP, two of the three candidates having denounced “Trumpian” methods.

The revelation of this decline in the number of members also caused a major stir during the campaign: the SNP's communications manager resigned the day after the announcement, after denying rumors in the press reporting on this situation.

In the process, and under the threat of an internal vote of no confidence,

SNP chief executive Peter Murrell resigned on March 18.

He also happens to be the husband of resigning Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Three candidates, therefore, will be decided by the votes of the members.

Current finance ministers Kate Forbes and health minister Humza Yousaf are favorites;

and Ash Regan, a former Nicola Sturgeon minister for community safety, sits third.

Humza Yousaf, big favorite

Considered a favorite in the polls, Humza Yousaf is also the candidate who has received the most sponsorships.

His closeness to Nicola Sturgeon, in whose government he was in turn Minister for Europe, then Transport, Justice and finally Health, make him the candidate for continuity - particularly in political strategy, of maintaining the political agreement reached with the Greens.

Humza Yousaf is also determined to pursue the controversial political choice of campaigning for a law making it easier to recognize gender change in Scotland.

This law on the initiative of Nicola Sturgeon is blocked by the British government, and constitutes one of the subjects of dispute which led to the voluntary departure of the Prime Minister.

Humza Yousaf is the favorite to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as Scottish Prime Minister.


Communicator and supporter of the unity of the SNP around a global vision of independence, Humza Yousaf is however encumbered with a lackluster record as Minister of Health, while the Scottish health system, very decentralized, shows serious dysfunctions which have multiplied in recent years.

If he wins on Monday, he would become the first Muslim to lead a major political party in the UK.

Kate Forbes, icon of the conservative break

Youngest of the three candidates, Kate Forbes is 32 years old;

she had been tipped to lead the SNP in 2020 following the unexpected resignation of Finance Minister Derek Mackay.

Born in the Highlands, Kate Forbes lived part of her youth in India, where her parents were missionaries, before working as an accountant at Barclays in London.

She was elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2016.

Kate Forbes is a member of the Free Church of Scotland, a schismatic branch of the Church of Scotland which is the Calvinist institution considered the national church in Scotland.

The Free Church of Scotland is considered conservative.

Kate Forbes' campaign was marked by her position on the marriage of same-sex couples, voted in 2014 by parliament: Kate Forbes said she would have opposed it if she had been a member of parliament at the era, thus alienating part of the voters of the SNP, classically aligned with progressive positions.

Faced with the controversy generated by her remarks, Kate Forbes then undertook to "

defend everyone's rights to the end


Kate Forbes, current finance minister, is in the running to succeed Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.


Kate Forbes also said the preparatory work for independence had not been enough, and said the path to independence must be "


", to win over those Scots who voted against it in 2014.

Ash Regan, hard independentist

An election outsider and relatively unknown to Scots despite a four-year stint in government, Ash Regan broke away from Nicola Sturgeon by resigning as Community Safety Minister, in opposition to the Change of Rules Act. gender.

Originally from southeast Glasgow, Ash Regan worked in public relations, marketing and event planning in England before returning to Scotland and joining a pro-independence think tank.

She joined the SNP in 2014 after the referendum, and was elected to parliament in 2016.

Ash Regan is the outsider in the internal SNP election to appoint Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon's successor.


She accused her opponents of being "


" on independence and promised to unite independence supporters in a dedicated convention.

She sees every election as a vote on independence, and has regularly indicated that if pro-independence parties win more than 50% of the vote, it would be a clear indication that Scotland wants to leave the UK.

She notably plans to create a Scottish currency in the months following independence, and has already produced examples of what coins and notes could look like.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-03-27

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