Nicola Sturgeon announces she is to step down as SNP leader
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Support for independence has fallen below 40 percent following the announcement of Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation. An opinion poll, conducted by YouGov, showed that 39 percent of Scottish voters support independence from the United Kingdom, compared to 47 percent who want to remain part of the union. The poll spoke to 1,002 adults in Scotland between March 9 and 13.
In February support for independence was at 40 percent.
The new survey also revealed that, regardless of their view on independence, 52 percent of the public believe Scotland will still be part of the UK in 10 years’ time.
Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf, finance minister Kate Forbes and former minister Ash Regan are currently battling it out to succeed her.
Each of them has pledged to continue to fight for independence.
YouGov’s poll, commissioned by Sky, asked voters for their views on the potential leaders.
Ms Forbes was the most popular, with 27 percent saying she would be a good first minister.
Some 22 percent said the same about Mr Yousaf, while just 14 percent thought positively of Ms Regan.
Announcing her resignation, the outgoing First Minister said the “time is right” for her to step down, something she said she knows “instinctively”.
She described her decision to leave the post as a “duty”.
The outgoing SNP leader also appeared to give up on her dream for Scottish independence, saying she wants her party to choose its plan for pursuing the goal without the influence of a leader who might not be around to carry it out.
She said: “I free the SNP to choose the path that believes to be the right one.”
Speaking about the future of the independence movement, she added: “By making my decision clear now I free the SNP to make the right decision”.
“We’re at a critical moment”, she warned, saying “the cause of independence is bigger than any one individual.”
Ms Sturgeon became the country’s longest-serving first minister after more than 8 years in the role.
She took over as the party leader in November 2014 after the SNP’s failed independence referendum, taking over from Alex Salmond.
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