Print Print

Humza Yousaf confirmed as Scotland’s next leader


LONDON — Humza Yousaf, the grandson of a Pakistani immigrant who arrived barely speaking English to work in a sewing machine factory in Glasgow, was named as the new leader of the Scottish National Party on Monday.

At age 37, Yousaf would be the youngest first minister of Scotland and the first Muslim to run the nation. His mother, wearing a headscarf, dabbed a tear as he spoke after the vote results were announced.

He will be the first person from an ethnic minority background to be first minister and the first Muslim to lead the country – as well as the youngest ever first minister.

Yousaf, 37, narrowly won a Scottish National Party (SNP) leadership battle on Monday to clinch the party's top job, vowing to rejuvenate the stalled pursuit of independence for Scotland.

He promised Monday to continue his party’s push to leave the United Kingdom and become a fully independent nation. “We will be the generation that delivers independence,” he vowed.

Beyond independence, the new leader of the SNP said he would focus on the high cost of living, improving educational opportunities and access to an often overwhelmed National Health Service.

Yousaf will replace Nicola Sturgeon, who announced last month that she was standing down after more than eight years in the role, saying she no longer felt she could give the job her all. She also worried she had become a polarizing figure in a country divided over its future in the United Kingdom.

The Scottish government under Sturgeon has also been in turmoil over Scotland’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill, which would have made it easier for transgender people as young as 16 to change their legal gender. The law was halted by the British government.

The new leader of the SNP holds similar positions on most issues as his predecessor. He supports same-sex marriage, he has said, and he told the BBC last month, “I do not use my faith as a basis for legislating,” adding the government must “look at what we think is in the best interest of society as a whole.”

Yousaf is a career politician, rising from activist to legislative aide to member of the Scottish Parliament. In a close three-way race, Yousaf took 52 percent of the vote, on the second count, against 48 percent for finance minister Kate Forbes. The selection was made by SNP members only — with a turnout of 70 percent.

Footnotes: Footnotes: Source credits:

Article Source: ALAMEENPOST