Scottish nationalists picked Humza Yousaf to be the country’s next leader on Monday after a bitterly fought contest that exposed deep divisions in his party over policy and a stalled independence campaign.
The 37-year-old practising Muslim will succeed Nicola Sturgeon as leader of the governing Scottish National Party (SNP) and, subject to a vote in the Scottish parliament, take over as head of the semi-autonomous government.
Setting out his goals, Yousaf said he would concentrate on tackling the cost of living crisis and make a renewed push for independence.
“The people of Scotland need independence now more than ever before, and we will be the generation that delivers it,” he said in Edinburgh after the result.
Yousaf’s victory was confirmed at the capital’s Murrayfield rugby ground after a six-week campaign where the three candidates spent much of the contest criticising each other’s record in a series of personal attacks.
The SNP’s unity, which had been one of its strengths, broke down over arguments about how to achieve a second independence referendum and the best way to introduce social reforms such as transgender rights.