Vote to start competition for Nicola Sturgeon’s successor


Participation in the competition to succeed Nicola Sturgeon and the election of Scotland’s next First Minister will begin later today.

Ballots will be mailed to tens of thousands of SNP members tasked with electing their party’s new leader.

With the SNP being the largest party in the Scottish Parliament, whoever wins the contest becomes the country’s sixth First Minister.

Just hours after voting begins, the candidates will take part in a live televised debate on Sky News – the third televised clash of the leadership campaign so far.

The leadership contest comes after Ms Sturgeon announced last month that she was quitting the job she has had for more than eight years – making her the longest-serving Scottish First Minister to date.

Three candidates are in the running for the top post in Scottish politics – with Finance Secretary Kate Forbes, Health Secretary Humza Yousaf and former Community Security Secretary Ash Regan.

With Mr Yousaf having the backing of John Swinney, Scotland’s outgoing Deputy First Minister, the Scottish Health Secretary is seen by some as the party’s preferred candidate.

And while some polls have put Ms Forbes at the top of the Scottish public, only SNP members will make the choice.

SNP members will receive their ballots by email today and have until the morning of March 27 to cast their ballots – the day when the next chairperson will be announced.

But the only transferrable voting system in use means second preferences could be key in determining the next SNP leader.

Party members are asked to rank the three candidates in order of preference, and if no single candidate receives more than 50% of the votes for first preference, the person ranked third is eliminated.

Your second preference votes are then split between the two remaining candidates to determine the winner.

The company Mi Voice – which conducts all internal SNP elections – will send out emails to party members when voting begins at 12 noon.

Paper ballots have also been sent to members who have requested them and are also expected to arrive on Monday.

Members have two weeks to cast their vote, with voting closing at 12:00 noon on March 27.

An SNP spokesman said: “SNP members will receive their ballots by email today and have until the morning of March 27 to cast their vote – the day when the next leader is announced.

“Voting is conducted by an independent third party who ensures the process is free, fair and smooth.” Vote to start competition for Nicola Sturgeon’s successor

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