By Biodun Busari
Humza Yousaf has been elected as the leader of the Scottish National Party and is set to become the first Muslim and Asian to occupy the highest position.
The 37-year-old emerged as the new first minister triumphing over his rivals Kate Forbes and Ash Regan to replace Nicola Sturgeon.
Sky News reported Monday that Yousaf, the Cabinet Health Minister emerged following a boisterous campaign that exposed deep divisions in the party that has dominated Scottish politics under his predecessor.
The report further said he is almost certain to be confirmed as Scotland’s next first minister in a nominal vote at Holyrood on Tuesday.
The SNP’s national secretary, Lorna Finn, announced that the turnout in the party’s leadership election was 70%.
For first preferences in the STV system, Yousaf polled 24,336 votes (48%), Forbes gathered 20,559 votes (40%) and Regan had 5,599 votes (11%).
When second preferences were distributed in the second stage, Yousaf took 26,032 (52%) and Forbes took 23,890 (48%).
Yousaf is the most experienced candidate after previously overseeing justice and transport portfolios, the reason he defeated his centre-right rival, Forbes.
The race for the leadership was prompted by Sturgeon’s shocked resignation in February that was framed as an existential battle over the future direction of the SNP.
Yousaf, who had the support of most SNP MSPs and MPs, had promised to continue the centre-left, socially inclusive agenda that defined the Sturgeon era, Sky News said.
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