On Monday March 27th, the Scottish National party announced the results of their leadership election. Humza Yousaf won with 52% of the vote on the second ballot, defeating Kate Forbes and Ash Regan. Because the SNP is the ruling party in Scotland, the leadership contest was by extension an election for the post of First Minister of the nation with this being formalized the next day. As The Scottish Greens had previously indicated they would maintain their coalition with the SNP, Yousaf’s confirmation as first minister was all but guaranteed upon his winning the leadership contest.
On March 28, this was confirmed with the Scottish Parliament formally selecting Yousaf as the first Minister of Scotland According toSky News, “Opposition parties were able to put themselves forward in the process, but with the backing of the Greens – as well as his own SNP members – Mr Yousaf successfully saw off challenges from Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sawar and Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton.
It means Mr Yousaf’s name will now be submitted to the King, with a formal session to swear him in expected at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Wednesday.” Yousaf went on to say: “I will never shy away from tackling the big issues our country faces. I will lead a government that listens carefully and respects the views of all MSPs.”
In addition to a personal achievement, Yousaf’s election represents a significant milestone in that he is the first ethnic minority to be First Minister of Scotland and Muslim to be the leader of any Western Nation.
Yousaf’s election was hailed as a great accomplishment in that it’s the first time a Muslim will be leading a western nation, and if he achieves independence, western country. Yousaf’s parents came to Scotland with his Father being from Pakistan and his mother coming from Kenya and being of South Asian descent. Additionally, it should be noted that the end of the leadership contest was done while Yousaf was fasting for Ramadan. Yousaf committed in his speech to leading the generation which would achieve Independence as well as serving the people of Scotland generally.
According to Click on Detroit, “Yousaf joined the pro-independence SNP in 2005, inspired partly by its then-leader Alex Salmond’s opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, which the U.K. under Prime Minister Tony Blair had joined. Yousaf said he felt independence from the U.K. was the only way to ensure Scotland would not become embroiled in another illegal war.”
In addition to Yousaf, the leader of Scottish Labour, Anas Sarwar, is also a Muslim of South Asian heritage.