Scotland appoints Sweeney as new Prime Minister

Scotland appoints Sweeney as new Prime Minister

Yesterday, the Scottish Parliament elected John Swinney as the new First Minister, after his appointment on Monday as leader of the Scottish National Party. Sweeney succeeded in voting with a majority of 64 votes, thanks to the support of his party’s deputies and the Alba party’s deputies, as well as the Green Party’s abstention from voting. The new Prime Minister, who will rule in the minority, will have to reach agreements with the rest of the formations to complete the Legislative Council, and at the same time he will try to restore the confidence of pro-independence voters, whose hopes were disappointed. With its formation after 17 years in government.

Swinney took over the reins of his party and the Scottish government after the crisis that opened the door for his predecessor, Hamza Yusuf, only 10 days ago. Youssef’s decision to end the government coalition with the Green Party cost him the support of his partners in parliament and forced him to resign, opening the process of electing his successor. Sweeney was named a new leader without internal opposition, after receiving the support of former Finance Minister Kate Forbes, Youssef’s rival in the primary elections a year ago and the most prominent face of the moderate formation sector. His main challenge at this time will be to integrate all the party’s factions into a unity government, in which Forbes will figure prominently.

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The new Prime Minister emphasized that he would govern from the moderate left, with a particular focus on economic growth and social equality, but without leaving aside the pro-independence project. Swinney told Parliament shortly before taking office: “I look to all independent nations that are comparable to Scotland and that are richer and more equal than the UK, and reinforce my belief that self-government is the right way forward for Scotland.” . How he handles the issue of independence will be one of the key points when it comes to maintaining internal cohesion within his party, as well as his stance on controversial issues, such as gender identity politics and the rights of transgender people.

Minority government

In addition to dealing with potential internal battles, Sweeney faces the challenge of running a minority government after the deal with the Green Party expires. The new leader extended his hand to the rest of the formations to reach parliamentary agreements, but his former partners have already made it clear that they will not offer their support in exchange for anything. Green Party co-leader Patrick Harvey confirmed that to stabilize the government, the new prime minister would have to agree to some of his proposals, including increasing rent control, moving to clean energies in homes and banning conversion therapy.

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