A day after being elected as the new leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP, its acronym in English), independent Hamza Yusuf was officially appointed Prime Minister of Scotland on Tuesday (28).
By now Minister of Health in the Scottish provincial government, Yousaf became the first Muslim leader of a government in Western Europe.
The 37-year-old succeeds former Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who abruptly announced her resignation in February after eight years in office.
Youssef will be sworn in on Wednesday at the High Court of Scotland.
The local government in the country of 5.5 million people has jurisdiction over important issues such as education, health and justice. But appointing a new leader is also essential to the UK’s future, as divisions between the four countries – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – have been exacerbated by the UK’s exit from the European Union in 2021.
“The people of Scotland need independence now more than ever and we will be the generation that gets independence,” Youssef said on Monday after announcing his election.
At the heart of his party’s platform, the independence project has been losing support of late.
According to a March 13 YouGov poll, 46% of respondents were in favor of independence, up from 50% the previous month.
Scotland held a referendum on self-determination in 2014 in which 45% of Scots voted to secede from the United Kingdom.
The independence project was revived with Brexit, which was opposed by 62% of the country’s citizens, and the Scottish National Party advocated secession from London as a way to return to the European Union.
During his election campaign, Youssef analyzed that the party spent too much time criticizing the failures of the British central government and not enough to create a vision of an independent Scotland.
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