Hamza Yusuf was sworn in as Scotland’s first minister on Wednesday to become the first Muslim head of government in western Europe, but amid disagreements within his party.
Yusuf, 37, is the youngest leader of the Scottish National Party and has vowed to reinvigorate the party’s campaign for independence.
But after winning the race to succeed Nicola Sturgeon on Monday, her leadership faces question marks after rival Kate Forbes refused to join her cab.
Youssef offered the outgoing finance minister a lower post, despite her close to electoral victory. And she obtained 48% of the preference votes for party members, against 52% for Youssef.
Youssef’s allies said the reason Forbes turned down the position was related to her desire to spend more time with her family following her recent birth. But in newspaper reports, his supporters criticize the job offer.
Today, Yusuf spends his day assembling members of his cab after being sworn in by Lord Colin Sutherland, the head of Scotland’s highest courts.
The new head of government pledged to “serve His Majesty King Charles faithfully” despite his public support for the abolition of the monarchy in favor of electing a president for Scotland.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had congratulated Yusuf in a phone call soon after the Scottish Parliament elected him prime minister after winning the leadership of the Scottish National Party on Tuesday.
Yusuf said the contact had been “constructive”, adding that he had stressed to Sunak that London should respect “the democratic wishes of the people and the Scottish Parliament”.
Sunak, for his part, stressed that the two governments should work together on day-to-day political issues, according to Downing Street.
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