Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced her resignation on Wednesday, surprising the public in the United Kingdom and most of her party.
Sturgeon had been in power since 2014, and she explained that her dominance over her party and country was no longer beneficial to the fight for Scottish independence, her primary political goal. Speaking at a news conference in Edinburgh, Sturgeon stated that she had become too divisive and exhausted to reach across the political divide, which led her to decide to focus on “Nicola Sturgeon the person” instead of the “brutality” of modern politics.
Sturgeon became the leader of the Scottish National Party after Scotland voted 55% to 45% to remain part of the United Kingdom in a 2014 independence referendum. She led her party through a series of significant electoral victories and was renowned as the best political communicator in Britain.
However, in recent months, she faced difficulties with the path she was pursuing for a new independence referendum, which was blocked by Britain’s Supreme Court. Additionally, she became embroiled in a row over transgender rights that angered some of her supporters.
The ramifications of Sturgeon’s resignation will have consequences for the SNP, the fight for independence, and the drive by Britain’s opposition Labour Party to win enough seats in the United Kingdom to beat Sunak’s Conservatives in an election anticipated to take place next year. If the SNP’s electoral prospects are affected, this could help Labour reclaim some of the seats lost to the nationalists in regions of Scotland that it once dominated.
Some possible candidates to replace Sturgeon include Kate Forbes, the 32-year-old cabinet secretary for finance, who was first elected as a lawmaker in 2016, and John Swinney, a 58-year-old deputy first minister.
According to polls, support for Scottish independence increased above 50% following the Supreme Court’s ruling, but it has since declined. Sturgeon believes that there is majority support for independence in Scotland and that the SNP must strengthen and grow that support. She also believes that a new leader will be better equipped to bridge the divide in Scottish politics.