Nicola Sturgeon takes over as new leader of SNP

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon has taken over the new leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) on Friday after being elected unopposed and will become Scotland’s new first minister next week.

Former SNP leader Alex Salmond had announced his resignation from both party leadership and Scottish first minister following a close defeat in independence referendum took place on September 18.

During the SNP annual conference in Perth, delegates rubber-stamped 44-year-old Sturgeon’s election as SNP leader being the sole candidate for the post – paving the way for her appointment as Scotland’s first female first minister next week. 

Mr Salmond had led the SNP for around two decades and served as first minister for seven years, transforming the nationalist party from a marginal organisation to a major political force.

During a speech to delegates today, Mr Salmond has expressed his belief that Scotland can still become an independent nation despite the referendum vote, as he said: “When the history of Scottish independence is written, be in no doubt that the 18th September 2014 will be remembered as the most significant breakthrough in Scottish political history.”

“Why? Because despite everything that the Westminster establishment threw at Scotland, 45 per cent of the people – 1.6 million women and men living and working in Scotland – chose hope over fear.

“A much higher number than our opponents ever thought possible when we started this campaign.”

While welcoming the appointment of Ms Sturgeon, Mr Salmond has said: “As one era ends so another begins.

“Nicola, your contribution to where this party now stands has already been immense, your future contribution I have no doubt will be to make history.”

In conference address, Ms Sturgeon has told being elected part leader was “the biggest privilege of my life but one that I cherish and one that I relish”.

It was a “good time for our party and it’s a good time for our country”.

Giving a biggest tribute to the outgoing leader, she has added: “In Alex Salmond I have the hardest of acts to follow.

He has been an outstanding leader of our party. He has been an outstanding First Minister for Scotland.”

In the conference, Dundee MSP Stewart Hosie has also elected as the SNP new deputy leader after gaining 55.5% of the votes.

He is a lawmaker in the British parliament in London but not the Scottish parliament, so will not be able to take over Sturgeon`s job as deputy first minister in Edinburgh.

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