Friday, June 9

Humza Yousaf will be the new First Minister of Scotland: young, progressive and the first Muslim to hold the position

Humza Yousaf, 37, and until now a minister, will be the new first minister of Scotland, the Scottish nationalist party announced on Monday after a disputed race between candidates over the unexpected resignation in February of Nicola Sturgeon. Yousaf, the first Muslim and the youngest person to hold the post so far, advocates independence like his predecessor but does not share his defiance of the London government.

From Brexit to trans law: Scotland moves away from London


Glasgow-born Yousaf, whose father emigrated from Pakistan in the 1960s and whose mother was born in Kenya, has been clear about the racism he has suffered in Scotland and has fought the institutions in several cases for their practices. In 2021, his wife filed a complaint against the nursery that she did not accept her two-year-old daughter while accepting children who had a more Anglo-sounding last name, she explained. He withdrew the complaint a few weeks ago..

After studying at the University of Glasgow and working as secretary to various politicians, Yousaf was elected MP in 2011 and entered Alex Salmond’s government as Secretary of State for Europe. He became transport minister in 2016, already with Sturgeon. In his cabinet, he has been Minister of Justice and now he was the Minister of Health. Often, the politician was a pioneer in these public positions because of his age and his religion.

The new first minister will formally take office on Wednesday, after a vote in the Scottish Parliament and a formal ceremony with King Charles III.

The independence

The one chosen by the party affiliates is said to be willing to defend Sturgeon’s decisions, including the gender self-determination law that the Rishi Sunak Executive has blocked. But in the case of Scottish independence, he is more cautious, saying he does not want to present every election as a de facto referendum on independence, as Sturgeon suggested.

In her latest attempt to move towards independence after Brexit, the former prime minister announced that there would be a referendum in October of this year, but the British Government has not authorized the consultation and the British Justice ruled in November against the attempt to call the voting without the prior authorization of London.

Yousaf says that his priority now, above all, is to build “a solid majority” in favor of independence and that “it is not enough to have polls that show 50 or 51% support for independence.” According to the latest pollsWith data from this March, support for an independent Scotland in a hypothetical referendum is around 46%. In 2014, 55% voted against of independence in a referendum agreed with the Government of David Cameron.

The conservative rival

Yousaf’s main rival was Kate Forbes, the 32-year-old Chancellor of the Exchequer who was controversial for her conservative stances against same-sex marriage and her views against unmarried sex. Forbes, a member of the Scottish Evangelical Church, assured a few weeks ago that, according to their faith, it is “wrong” to have children or sex outside of marriage. She also said that if she had had the opportunity as a deputy, would not have voted in favor of recognition of same-sex marriage, which has been legal since 2014 in Scotland, since 2013 in England and Wales and since 2020 in Northern Ireland.

Forbes later explained that he is not opposed to already accepted rights, but was only speaking “hypothetically” and called for “respect” for religious people with other views. “I will defend to the end the rights of everyone in a pluralistic and tolerant society to live and love free from harassment and fear. At the same time, I hope that others have rights as people of faith to practice mainstream teachings,” she said in an interview on the BBC.

trans law

In the campaign, Yousaf was quick to recall his support for Sturgeon’s social policy in defense of the rights of same-sex couples, gender self-determination or the right to abortion with the protection of women to avoid harassment in front of women. clinics and other obstacles. Yousaf is also the only candidate who continues to defend the trans law passed by the Scottish Parliament and which is now stopped by the British Government and in the middle of a legal process to defend it in court or try to modify it. Yousaf has said that he will continue the battle, while his rivals preferred to leave the project.

The other candidate in the party was Ash Reagan, who resigned as minister in October in protest of the gender self-determination law announced by Sturgeon and that goes beyond the one in force in the United Kingdom of 2004, which requires a medical examination and the majority old. The Scottish law, now paralyzed by what the British government considers an invasion of powers, does not require a medical examination and lowers the age from 18 to 16 so that anyone can make the legal change of identification.