Scotland: Humza Yousaf to Replace Nicola Sturgeon

Image copyright: Reuters [via Al Jazeera]

The Facts

  • Humza Yousaf was named the leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) on Monday, winning 52% of the vote in a tight, three-way leadership race. He will replace Nicola Sturgeon who announced her resignation last month, and is likely to become the youngest Scottish first minister and first Muslim to lead the country.

  • Though he has not yet been made first minister, Yousaf's trajectory has become a near certainty since he also garnered the support of the Scottish Greens on Tuesday. Scotland's Green Party had previously announced their intention to leave the coalition if his main rival Kate Forbes had defeated him.

The Spin

Narrative A

Having achieved the accolade of becoming the first Muslim to lead a country in Western Europe, Yousaf must now turn his attention to uniting the SNP as he seeks to shake up the debate around Scottish independence and deepen Scotland's ties with the EU. While he is yet to prove his ability to bring together a disparate SNP, he was the best candidate in this race and the most likely politician to succeed in uniting his party, as he plans to stick with Sturgeon's progressive agenda and serve the people's interests.

Narrative B

Humza Yousaf won because he is an establishment Scottish politician as well as a peddler of woke policy ideas, but his narrow victory proves that he is relatively weak compared to his predecessor and will likely struggle to focus his ministers, or the SNP at large, on a collective policy manifesto. Nevertheless, given the series of unexpected events in British politics in recent years, unionists cannot be complacent or risk underestimating him — close attention must be paid to the SNP's continued pursuit of Scottish independence.

Metaculus Prediction

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