The Scottish regional government will have a new leader on Monday, following the sudden resignation in February of pro-independence activist Nicola Sturgeon, who is facing the difficult task of reviving the pro-independence movement as it loses steam.
Members of the ruling Scottish National Party have until the south to decide between three candidates. The results of this internal vote, which began a fortnight ago, will be known this afternoon.
The regional government of this nation with 5.5 million inhabitants is responsible for key issues such as education, health and justice.
But the vote is also important for Britain’s future, where divisions between its four nations – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – have been exacerbated by Britain’s effective departure from the European Union.
The current regional head of Finance, Kate Forbes, and the head of Health, Humza Yousaf, are the favourites, according to Ipsos polls conducted between March 17 and 21. Ash Regan, who was a member of one of Sturgeon’s governments, came in third.
The charismatic and once hugely popular Sturgeon, 52, said goodbye to the regional parliament on Thursday, celebrating after she became “Scotland’s second female first minister or the first head of government to emerge from a minority”, with Yousaf, who He is a Muslim.
– 2014 referendum –
During her more than 8 years in power, Sturgeon has firmly defended the independence agenda, at the center of the SNP’s programme, but she is losing strength.
According to a YouGov poll on March 13, 46% of respondents were in favor of independence (compared to 50 last month). Including the incident, the proportion falls to 39%.
Scotland held a referendum in 2014, in which only 45% of Scots voted to leave the UK.
However, the cause of independence has been revived with Brexit, which was opposed by 62% of Scots, and the SNP defended the way to return to the European Union in the break with London.
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“Many of us are disappointed that the movement for independence is not stronger,” said Forbes, 32.
“There is no way to freedom without persuading” no voter to vote, he added.
In Yousaf’s opinion, 37, the party spends too much time criticizing the wrongdoings of the British central government and not enough to create a vision of an independent Scotland.
– Gender change –
According to Ipsos, Forbes is the preferred candidate among Scots, with 27% of the vote.
But within the SNP, Yousaf leads with 38%, although Forbes follows with 37% (22% for Regan).
The financier had a difficult start to the campaign because of his conservative views: he is a member of the Free Church of Scotland, which opposes gay marriage and abortion.
Sturgeon announced her resignation on February 15 to everyone’s surprise, explaining that she no longer had the necessary energy after eight years in power.
Its popularity began to decline due to a controversial Scottish law that made it easier to change sex without medical advice from the 16th century.
Last year, the British High Court also ruled that the Scottish government could not hold a new independence referendum without the consent of London.
However, the leader claimed to have “full confidence” in his successor leading Scotland to independence.