Scottish separatists begin voting to replace Nicola Sturgeon

Scottish separatists began voting on Monday to elect their leader to become Scotland’s new prime minister following the surprise resignation of Nicola Sturgeon in mid-February, an election particularly crucial to the future of the United Kingdom.

Three candidates are running to succeed Ms Sturgeon as leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP): local finance minister Kate Forbes, whose Tory remarks have sparked controversy in her left-leaning party, local health minister Hamza Yusuf, the first Muslim member of the Scottish government, and Ash Regan, a former minister who resigned last year.

The trio have pledged to carry the torch for independence carried for eight years by Nicola Sturgeon, who announced she was throwing in the towel on February 15, explaining she no longer had the energy necessary.

However, she remains in office during the transition. The name of his successor is due to be announced on 27 March, following an unprecedented vote since 2004 for the Independence Party.

After the failure of the first independence referendum in 2014, Ms Sturgeon wanted a second consultation, which was strongly opposed by London, which was supported by a Supreme Court ruling last year.

The prime minister then announced that she would make the local elections in 2026 a de facto referendum for or against independence, a controversial choice even within her party when the election left an electorate very divided on the question. show off and even aspire to liberty at half mast.

Scottish Health Minister Hamza Yusuf in Aberdeen on March 12, 2023 (Pool/AFP – Craig Brough)

According to a YouGov poll for Sky News channel published on Monday, 46% of respondents are in favor of independence (compared to 50% last month). Including undecided, the proportion drops to 39%.

Nicola Sturgeon also found herself in trouble after London blocked a controversial law she pushed for gender reassignment.

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Scottish Finance Minister Kate Forbes in Aberdeen on March 12, 2023 (Pool/AFP - Craig Brough)
Scottish Finance Minister Kate Forbes in Aberdeen on March 12, 2023 (Pool/AFP – Craig Brough)

Kate Forbes, a 32-year-old candidate and fervent Christian, was particularly fiercely opposed. Seen as a rising star in the party, she has repeatedly shared her conservative position, including on LGBTQ+ issues and childbearing outside marriage.

Nicola Sturgeon, another candidate to succeed Ash Regan, 49, resigned from the government last year over the rejection of the controversial bill.

Hamza Yusuf, 37, is the only candidate who has promised to uphold the prime minister’s progressive social policies. “I’m the only candidate who has clearly said he will protect everyone,” he said during a televised debate on Thursday.

In an independence movement full of introspection, Kate Forbes speculated on Monday that the path to independence must be “gradual” to convince those who vote in 2014.

Hamza Yusuf meanwhile promised to “shift into fifth gear” instead of a downshift suggested by one of his colleagues in the independence government.

She is supported by colleagues from Nicola Sturgeon, but according to polls, Ms Forbes is most popular among both independence voters and Scots.

According to a poll published on Sunday, 33% of Scots support Kate Forbes, 18% for Hamza Yusuf and 10% for Ash Regan.

The vote is crucial to the future of the United Kingdom, whose divisions between its four constituent countries (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) have been deepened by Brexit.

Ash Regan in Aberdeen on March 12, 2023 (Pool/AFP - Craig Brough)
Ash Regan in Aberdeen on March 12, 2023 (Pool/AFP – Craig Brough)

The announcement of Nicola Sturgeon’s departure left a huge void. Eight years in power – a record – the incoming leader after a “no” victory in 2014 has managed to revive her defeated camp and accumulate electoral success.

The independence cause, the SNP’s raison d’etre, was revived by Brexit, which was opposed by 62% of Scots, with the SNP seeing a break with London as a way of returning to the EU.

Scottish local government is responsible for a range of matters including education, health and justice. Scotland has 5.5 million inhabitants.

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