The vote began among the independentistas to choose the successor of the Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon

The Minister of Health, Humza Yousaf; Economy Minister Kate Forbes; and Deputy Ash Regan; aspirants to lead the National Party and the post of prime minister, during an election campaign event in Aberdeen (REUTERS/Craig Brough) (CRAIG BROUGH/)

The succession of the emblematic independence leader Nicola Sturgeon has triggered the fight for control of the Scottish National Party (SNP), in a two-week vote that began this Monday and in which the bases will choose between the continuity of Humza Yousaf and the change of Kate Forbes.

The competition to replace the chief minister of Scotland and leader of the SNP involves more than 100,000 members who must choose, until March 27, between Yousaf, Forbes and the third in contention, Ash Regan.

Yousaf, the current regional Minister of Health, is supported by the main figures of the autonomous government. “It is important to have a leader who reflects Scotland’s progressive values, who stands up for the Scottish Parliament and the legislation it passes,” he told the agency. EFE the regional minister of Constitution and Foreign Affairs, Angus Robertson.

The last to join his candidacy this weekend were the leader of the party in the central Parliament (Westminster), Stephen Flynnand the deputy chief minister, john swinneySturgeon’s right-hand man.

Despite not having the support of the heavyweights of his formation, polls point to Kate Forbes, Minister of Economy as a favorite who is on maternity leave.

A follower of the evangelical Free Church of Scotland and an opponent of gay marriage, she is perceived by the general public as a capable person and a fresh face to lead the SNP (she is 32 years old).

The first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, will leave office after 8 years (REUTERS / Russell Cheyne)
The first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, will leave office after 8 years (REUTERS/Russell Cheyne) (RUSSELL CHEYNE/)

A few days after taking office in 2020, after the former minister was expelled from the Government, Derek Mackayfor his inappropriate messages to a minor, saved the general budgets.

According to a poll by the Ipsos Mori house, the Scottish electorate in general prefers her (33%) over her main rival, Yousaf (24%), who, however, seems to enjoy a better opinion among the bases of the party, usually more progressive.

“We need it (Forbes) because we’re stuck, that’s the honest truth,” he told EFE douglas chapmanformer treasurer of the SNP, who resigned in 2021 due to a lack of transparency.

“Only a fresh start and a change at the top can put us in the right direction again,” Chapman said.

On his religious beliefs, he pointed out that Forbes “is honest” and considered that “when these may clash (with current legislation), he will always put Scotland ahead.”

Within the SNP, a party that calls itself a liberal social democrat, several wings can be distinguished: the most social-conservative original of the 1990s, which was joined after the “No” to independence in the 2014 referendum one progressive of young people in search of a socially just Scotland, and another of hard independentistas.

According to the co-director of the Center for Constitutional Change at the University of Edinburgh, Nicola McEwenForbes sees the path to independence “through economic growth and job creation, also to eradicate poverty,” he explained to EFE.

Yousaf, for her part, follows “the line of Nicola Sturgeon, from the center-left. He is committed to continuing his policies of social justice and support for minorities,” the expert stressed.

The Scots must choose their next prime minister (Reuters / Lee Smith)
The Scots must choose their next prime minister (Reuters / Lee Smith) (LEE SMITH /)

The representatives of the minorities represented in the SNP are clear about their commitment to Yousaf.

“There’s a lot of hope in him, and a lot of trepidation with the Forbes idea,” he said. Erin Luxrepresentative of the LGTBQ+ wing.

“The party needs to keep the progressivism of the majority of Scots, and that is Humza (Yousaf),” he told EFE graham campbellpresident of ethnic minorities in the party.

The route towards eventual independence is also key in these primaries, even more so after the Supreme Court closed the path to the possibility of a unilateral referendum not agreed with London.

Forbes feels the current strategy is “very controlled and management driven” and advocates “open discussion” that “builds bridges rather than alienates people,” Chapman argued.

However, for Robertson, Yousaf is the right person to go “beyond the supporters of the SNP and the traditional independentistas”, in order to create a social majority for independence.

(With information from EFE)

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