Humza Yousaf has been chosen to take over as leader of the SNP and first minister of Scotland from Nicola Sturgeon. He was seen by many, including Ms. Sturgeon, as the SNP establishment’s favorite candidate.
More MSPs and MPs supported the health secretary than any of his rivals. John Swinney, also the Deputy First Minister, said that Mr. Yousaf would “finish our journey to independence.”
He has more experience than the other two leaders-to-be. Since 2012, he has worked for the government in positions such as justice secretary and transport minister.
His supporters say that he is a good communicator and best suited to unite the party and keep the power-sharing deal with the Scottish Greens after a very tense leadership race.
Humza Yousaf, who is known as the “continuity candidate,” is a close friend of Ms. Sturgeon and is usually seen as the person who would try to carry on the work of the outgoing first minister.
He is one of three candidates who has said he would go to court to stop the UK government from blocking Ms. Sturgeon’s controversial gender recognition reforms. He said that the party can only win independence if it keeps pushing “progressive values.”
But he has made it clear that he won’t go to court unless an attorney tells him he has a chance of winning.
Humza Yousaf has separated himself from Ms. Sturgeon’s plan to use the next election as a de facto referendum. Instead, he said that he would try to build a “consistent majority” in favor of independence because it “isn’t good enough” for polls to show that 50% or 51% of people support independence.
But he has tried to reach out to more impatient supporters of independence by saying he might hold a special Holyrood election to see how many people want to leave the UK.
Mr. Yousaf also denied that the party leaders were doing everything they could to ensure he won the leader race. This was in response to people who said the shorter campaign was done to help him win.
He has also said he would be willing to hear concerns about controversial policies like plans for a new national care service and the bottle return scheme.
“Do it as I say”
During the competition, Humza Yousaf told BBC Scotland’s Sunday Show that he was “his own man” and would do things in his way.
Critics say that Mr. Yousaf has “failed upwards” and has little to show for his time in government. Jackie Baillie of Labour called him “the worst health secretary in history” and said he now wants to be “the worst first minister in history.”
But his fellow SNP candidate for leadership, Kate Forbes, was the harshest. She told Mr. Yousaf during a live STV debate, “When you were in charge of transportation, the trains were always late. When you were in charge of justice, the police were so busy that they were about to break. And now that I’m in charge of health care, we have the longest wait times ever.”
A big part of the race was the fights between Mr. Yousaf and Ms. Mr. Yousaf said that his opponent’s views on social issues like gay marriage, transgender rights, and abortion would cause the party to “lurch to the right.”
But Humza Yousaf has also asked why he didn’t vote in the final gay marriage vote in 2014. He said it was because he had to attend a very important meeting about a Scot on death row in Pakistan for blasphemy.
Alex Salmond, the first minister at the time, said on Sky News that Mr. Yousaf missed the vote because a Glasgow mosque put religious pressure on him. Mr. Yousef has strongly denied this claim.
Humza Yousaf is first Muslim to head a major party in the UK
When the 37-year-old is confirmed as Scotland’s first minister, he will be the first Muslim to lead a major party in the UK and the first person from an ethnic minority to lead a devolved government.
His father was born in Pakistan, and in the 1960s, he moved to Scotland with his family. His mom was born in Kenya to parents who were from South Asia. Humza Yousaf has talked a lot about the racist things people have said to him.
At the start of the race for leader, he said he was threatened, so he had to call the police. A man, 25, and a woman, 35, were taken into custody and charged.
Humza Yousef went to Hutchesons’ Grammar, a private school in Glasgow. When he was there, he was two years behind Anas Sarwar, the leader of the Scottish Labour Party.
After studying politics at Glasgow University, he worked briefly in a call center before becoming Bashir Ahmad’s and then Alex Salmond’s assistant in parliament.
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Humza Yousaf was chosen as a listed MSP for the Glasgow area in 2011. A year later, Mr. Salmond made him minister for Europe and international development.
He was the first person from a minority group to win a seat in the Scottish Parliament. Then, in 2016, he became the minister of transport. He did this by winning the Glasgow Pollok race against a Labour candidate.