Scotland: who is Humza Yousaf?


Nicola Sturgeon’s successor as leader of the Scottish National Party has been elected. Sturgeon, who recently resigned as first minister and was the first woman to lead the country, will be succeeded by Humza Yousaf, the first Muslim Scottish leader. Yousaf comes from an immigrant family from Pakistan. The former health minister is considered social liberal in his views and is a close confidant of his predecessor. The European press discusses what to expect from the new leader.


The Scotsman (GB) /

Party remains divided

Yousaf won’t be able to renew the SNP, says The Scotsman:

“As a new SNP leader, he will have to expend a huge amount of energy trying to stabilise a sinking vessel and dousing fires of rebellion in the ship’s hold. Divided parties do not win elections and the deep splits exposed in the leadership campaign make renewing the SNP in office all but impossible. The serious public policy challenges, the ferries with painted-on windows, the lengthening NHS waiting lists, the poverty gap, and the attainment gap in our schools, these will languish while the power struggle in the SNP continues beyond the ballot result.”

Jackie Baillie
The Irish Times (IE) /

A man of the middle

The Irish Times welcomes the fact that the SNP members decided in favour of Yousaf and against the more conservative Kate Forbes:

“Her membership of the evangelical Free Church of Scotland, her opposition to same-sex marriage and her belief that having children outside wedlock is simply ‘wrong’, appeared to have alienated important sections of the SNP’s younger membership. Humza Yousaf now faces a formidable task, particularly in replacing the highly popular Sturgeon. But he is at least a leader in the tradition of the SNP mainstream. A party led by Forbes would have risked the immediate departure of its Green coalition allies while being vulnerable in the longer term to an erosion of support among left-wing voters.”

Polityka (PL) /

Britain’s class society is changing

Polityka identifies a new trend in British politics:

“From a symbolic point of view, Yousaf’s election marks a turning point for Scotland. Not only because of his age, but also because of his background. Yousaf will be the first Scottish head of government to come from an ethnic minority. At the same time, he is part of a broader trend in British politics. The leader of the Scottish branch of the Labour Party is Anas Sarwar, also a descendant of Asian immigrants. ... Add to this the fact that Britain is governed by Rishi Sunak, another representative of second- generation migrants, and it is clear how much has changed in recent years in British politics, which was ossified along class and race lines.”

Mateusz Mazzini