Humza Yousaf has been elected SNP leader - so is he now first minister?

MSPs will have the final decision over who replaces Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister.

Humza Yousaf has been elected SNP leader – but has he replaced Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister STV News

Humza Yousaf has been elected as the new leader of the SNP, replacing the outgoing first minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Yousaf beat off competition from Kate Forbes and Ash Regan in a vote of SNP members – but doesn’t automatically become the new FM.

MSPs will have the final say on that when they hold their own vote in the Scottish Parliament.

Before that, Sturgeon told the King that she is standing down after eight years at the helm.

That has kickstarted the parliamentary process to choose her successor, which is expected to begin around 2pm on Tuesday.

Any MSP from any political party can be nominated for the role, before the candidates each make a brief speech in the Holyrood chamber.

MSPs will then hold a vote – but a winner is only declared if one contender has more votes than their rivals combined.

If that doesn’t happen, the candidate with the smallest backing drops out and another round of voting begins.

The process continues until someone wins a majority, with that person then appointed first minister by the King on recommendation of the presiding officer.

If the parliament fails to elect a new FM within 28 days, a Scottish Parliament election will be held.

In 2003, seven candidates put themselves forward to be first minister, while Ruth Davidson, Willie Rennie and Douglas Ross all challenged Sturgeon at different times during her elections in 2014, 2016 and 2021.

What happens next?

Assuming a new first minister is elected on Tuesday, they will be sworn in during a short ceremony at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, which will probably be held on Wednesday.

The oath of office – known as the “official declaration” – will be taken, and they will pledge to be the Keeper of the Scottish seal and make an oath of allegiance to the King.

Government ministers are likely to start being appointed later on Wednesday, before the new FM faces opposition leaders at First Minister’s Questions on Thursday.

Scotland’s first ministers

Yousaf, Forbes or Regan will become the sixth first minister since devolution. The others were:

  • 1999-2000 – Donald Dewar (Labour – Died suddenly after collapsing outside Bute House)
  • 2000-2001 – Henry McLeish (Labour – Resigned amid ‘officegate’ scandal)
  • 2001-2007 – Jack McConnell (Labour – Left after losing Holyrood election to SNP)
  • 2007-2014 – Alex Salmond (SNP – Quit after Scots voted against independence)
  • 2014-2023 – Nicola Sturgeon (SNP – Said she was stepping down for personal reasons)
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