Scottish government survives confidence vote after Hamza Yousaf quits | Politics News

The Scottish National Party expected to pick a new leader to replace outgoing First Minister Humza Yousaf.

The Scottish government has survived a confidence vote, giving the Scottish National Party (SNP) a chance to pick a new leader to replace outgoing First Minister Humza Yousaf.

Yousaf’s decision to step down as first minister and SNP leader on Monday has thrown the party into chaos and boosted hopes in the United Kingdom’s opposition Labour Party that it can regain Scottish seats to win a national election later this year.

Polls show that Labour is ahead of or level with the SNP in Scotland for the first time in a decade.

Yousaf said he would resign after he ended a coalition with the Green Party. It means the SNP is seeking a third leader in little more than a year, undermining what had once seemed like its iron grip on power in the devolved Scottish government.

While the Greens made Yousaf’s position untenable by withdrawing their confidence in him personally, they voted with the SNP against Wednesday’s vote of no confidence in the Scottish government.

The no-confidence motion was defeated by 70 votes to 58.

Defeat for the government would have led to the resignation of all ministers and most likely triggered a Scottish election.

With that outcome averted, Yousaf will remain in office until the SNP chooses a new leader. Former SNP party leader John Swinney and Yousaf’s old leadership rival Kate Forbes have both said they are considering running.

Glasgow-born Yousaf, whose paternal grandparents and father emigrated to Scotland from Pakistan in the 1960s, had been hailed as a polished communicator who the SNP hoped would be able to unite the fractured SNP.

“I could never have dreamt that one day, I would have the privilege of leading my country,” he said during his resignation speech. “People who looked like me were not in positions of political influence, let alone leading governments, when I was younger.”

Yousaf was the Muslim head of a major political party and Scotland’s youngest elected leader. He took over the party in March last year, after the resignation of longtime leader Nicola Sturgeon, who faced splits in the party over the best route to independence for Scotland and proposed transgender recognition legislation.

Police have also probed the SNP’s finances, and Sturgeon’s husband has been charged with embezzling funds from the SNP. She has been arrested and questioned but not charged. Both deny wrongdoing.

Analysts have told Al Jazeera that the SNP is in crisis mode and that Yousaf’s resignation was a reflection of the party’s current downward trajectory as a political force.

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