Scottish First Minister Resigns

( – Humza Yousaf has stepped down as Scotland’s First Minister ahead of a confidence vote that observers say would have eventually see him removed from his position.

Yousaf, who heads the Scottish National Party (SNP), will remain in the position in the interim until a replacement can be appointed. The Scottish first minister’s hold on power fell apart after he surprised everyone by backing out of a power-sharing agreement with the Green Party, citing irreconcilable differences over certain environmental policies and proposed legislation for transgender rights. The Greens, however, retaliated, filing a motion for a vote of confidence where they said they would vote against him.

The burned bridges left Yousaf, the first Muslim to hold the post of Scotland’s first minister, with very few allies. In light of the bleak prospects that lay ahead, Yousaf said he decided to resign ahead of the confidence vote.

Speaking to reporters from the Bute House, the official residence of the First Minister, Yousaf conceded that it would take someone other than himself to repair the fraught relationships in the Scottish legislature. He also admitted that he “clearly underestimated” the impact of his decision to nix the power-sharing deal with the Greens, saying that he now sees how his colleagues were understandably “hurt” and “upset” by his decision.

Yousaf’s SNP party has long been the dominant party in Scottish politics, in part due to its strong credo of pushing for Scottish independence from England. However, a referendum in 2014 saw just a little more than half of Scotland preferring that the status quo be kept.

More recently, the SNP saw its popularity drop even more over the scandal involving Nicola Sturgeon, Yousaf’s predecessor. Sturgeon herself resigned last year following the arrest of her husband, Peter Murrell, was arrested over allegations that he embezzled funds while he served as chief executive of the SNP. Sturgeon was also arrested along with Murrell, but only the latter was eventually charged.

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