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by Andrew Learmonth
18 May 2021
MSPs expected to confirm SNP leader as first minister

MSPs expected to confirm SNP leader as first minister

NICOLA Sturgeon is set to be confirmed as first minister today, however the SNP leader will face a challenge from Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie and Scottish Conseravtive chief Douglas Ross.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar will not be present for the occasion as he is self-isolating after a member of his family tested positive for COVID.

Under the 1998 Scotland Act, the first minister must be elected by MSPs within 28 days of and election. Nominations will open this morning for four hours, and the contest will open at 2pm.

Given the SNP has far more MSPs than any other party, there is little doubt that Sturgeon will win the contest.

However, other party leaders who throw their hat into the ring will get to make a five minute speech, and set out their priorities.

Rennie, who also stood against Sturgeon in the Holyrood contest in 2016, said: “In a parliament of minorities it is important that there is a challenge. This should not just be an SNP cakewalk.

“Nicola Sturgeon and Douglas Ross are both obstacles on the path to tackling the issues that really matter. They both want to spend the next five years arguing over independence.

“As first minister I would focus on education, mental health, jobs and the climate emergency. That’s a positive plan for Scotland. That’s how we put recovery first.”

After Sturgeon wins today’s contest, she will then attend a formal swearing in ceremony at the Court of Session tomorrow.

The first minister will also soon announce her cabinet reshuffle, with MSPs then voting to confirm her new ministers on Thursday. 

With four of her previous cabinet secretaries standing down at the last election, Sturgeon will need to make some major changes to her government.

However, today's The National reports that the SNP had ruled out a coalition with the Greens, preferring to rule as a minority government. 

 

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