Nicola Sturgeon said that it is “time to think big” as she was officially re-elected as the First Minister of Scotland.
MSPs voted to re-elect Sturgeon to the position, which she has held since November 2014, in a vote at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday.
The vote formalises the process for the SNP leader to become First Minister, ahead of her name being put forward to the Queen to be confirmed in office.
Sturgeon highlighted the importance of recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, addressing the climate emergency and giving Scotland a choice on its future in making her nomination speech.
The only other candidates for the position were the Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross and Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie.
“This past year has been the most challenging that we have ever experienced,” Sturgeon told MSPs at Holyrood.
“During the election campaign I said that my overriding duty was to do everything possible to keep our country safe.
“And if nominated today that will indeed be my first and my driving priority, to lead us through this pandemic and to lead us into recovery – recovery of our economy, our National Health Service and of our society.
“Some Covid restrictions of course have eased now because of the incredible sacrifices of people across our country and the magnificent success of the vaccination programme.
“But, we know this crisis is not over as the current situation in Moray and in Glasgow reminds us very starkly.
“And as we look around the world, we also can see more clearly than ever before that none of us will be entirely safe until everyone across our planet is safe.”
The SNP leader said that in emerging from the Covid crisis, countries across the globe will be “re-imagining the kind of society they want to be”.
She said: “This past year has demonstrated as never before our common humanity and that all of our fates are intertwined.
“And of course, we see that in the climate emergency too. That is why COP26 in Glasgow later this year will be such a crucial event for our country and indeed for the world.
“Countries across the globe will be re-thinking and re-imagining the kind of society they want to be as they emerge from the crisis.
“Here in Scotland, we must do so too.”
Sturgeon pledged to continue to work with members across the chamber in implementing a programme to kick-start the recovery from the pandemic.
She told MSPs: “This is a time to think big, it is a time to be pioneers. Just as in many other northern European countries, I believe there is broad agreement in Scotland about the kind of country we want to be – a more equal society, with much greater economic security.
“A country committed to building a sustainable future for generations to come, a Scotland that is an equal partner with our friends in the rest of the UK and across Europe, a welcoming country, not one that conducts dawn raids in multicultural communities.
“In government, I have sought over this past year to work across the chamber throughout the Covid crisis. If re-nominated today, I will continue to do so as we do implement a programme to kick-start recovery.
“That will be a programme with the NHS, the economy and jobs at its heart. And we will take an inclusive approach to the debate that all countries must have about how we can build the best possible post-pandemic future.
“And in that endeavour, everyone in Scotland deserves to have an equal say. Scotland’s future must be Scotland’s choice.”
Sturgeon added: “Serving as our country’s First Minister is an immense privilege, but it is also an enormous responsibility and an enormous duty.
“And I am ready, with the confidence of parliament I hope, to get on with the job of leading this country to brighter and to better times.”