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Scotland’s Humza Yousaf confirmed as new Scottish leader

Finance minister Kate Forbes claps as Humza Yousaf is announced as the new Scottish National Party leader in Edinburgh, Britain March 27, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

Scotland's parliament has confirmed Humza Yousaf to replace Nicola Sturgeon as first minister.

The former Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, who became the governing party's leader, was elected by parliamentarians as Scotland's new leader on Tuesday.

Yousaf37, is the son of Muslim Asian immigrants. Following Sturgeon's resignation last month, as the new leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), he was set to be elected as the first minister.

Ahead of the confirmatory vote, Yousaf acknowledged he had "some very big shoes to fill" succeeding Sturgeon but vowed to "continue to ensure that Scotland is a positive, progressive voice on the world stage".

"I will also argue vigorously for independence," he added afterward, pledging in the meantime "to make the best possible use of this parliament's existing powers".

Yousaf promised on Monday to be "the generation that delivers independence for Scotland," and said he would ask London promptly to allow another vote.

He added on Monday that he would lead the SNP in the interests of all party members, and not only those who voted for him.

He said that the issues he faced as the leader of the governing party were both difficult and complex and needed to be prioritized.

Yousaf pledged to do his best to tackle the harm caused by the mounting cost-of-living pressure piled on the Scots of the United Kingdom.

Yousaf thanked all those who had helped him on the path to become the leader of SNP, particularly his grandparents, who had migrated to Scotland decades ago.

"My final thanks is to my grandparents. Unfortunately they are no longer alive to see this day. I'm forever thankful that my grandparents made the trip from Punjab to Scotland over 60 years ago as immigrants to this country who knew barely a word of English. They could not have imagined in their wildest dreams that their grandson would one day be on the cusp of being the first minister of Scotland."

Yousaf said the clear message of his being elected to SNP's leadership was that his Islamic faith and color of skin had not been an obstacle to stop him from becoming the Party's leader. Of course, he also noted that the journey from Punjab to Parliament had been a long one, taking several generations to finish.

Born in Glasgow on April 7, 1985, Humza attended Mearns Primary School in East Renfrewshire, and Hutchesons Grammar School in Glasgow where his Modern Studies lessons inspired him to become involved in politics.

For twelve years Yousaf had worked for community radio. He also worked on a project that provided food packages to homeless people and asylum seekers in Glasgow. Yousaf joined the SNP in 2005.

He graduated in 2007 from the University of Glasgow with a Master of Arts (MA).

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