After Nicola Sturgeon's surprise resignation, search begins to find successor
The search for Scotland's new First Minister has started after the surprise decision of Nicola Sturgeon to stand down. The announcement was made by the SNP leader on Wednesday after completing more than eight years on the job. Sturgeon, however, plans to remain in office till her successor is elected. The national executive committee of SNP will meet on Thursday evening to make a timetable for a leadership race.
As there is no obvious successor, the first leadership contest of the party in nearly 20 years can witness a debate on strategy and future direction. The possible replacements include Kate Forbes, who was finance secretary before her maternity leave, Deputy First Minister John Swinney, and Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson.
The names of Justice Secretary Keith Brown and Health Secretary Humza Yousaf have come up as potential candidates, however, no one has expressed their intention to stand.
The announcement was made by Sturgeon at a news conference held at her official Edinburgh residence, Bute House. Sturgeon insisted that she had been weighing up the decision for some time.
To serve people well, a politician must be willing to make way for someone else when it is the right time, she said.
"In my head and in my heart I know that time is now. That it's right for me, for my party and my country," said Sturgeon.
Sturgeon added that she did not decide to step down in response to the "latest period of pressure", which includes controversies over trans prisoners, gender recognition reforms and the strategy on independence.
Sturgeon spoke about the sacrifices and pressure she faced while in high office, adding: "I am a human being as well as a politician."