Scottish PM Nicola Sturgeon announces unexpected departure: ‘Opinions of me are a barrier’

Nicola Sturgeon unexpectedly resigns as Prime Minister of Scotland after more than eight years. She hopes the new face can achieve more.

Sturgeon, 52, leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), announced her departure at a press conference at her official residence in Edinburgh. She maintains that her decision is not the result of recent setbacks. “It seems unexpected, but I’ve been struggling with this for several weeks,” says Sturgeon, who talks about a “difficult decision.”

I tried to answer two questions. Is persistence beneficial for me? And most importantly, is staying in shape for the sake of the country, my party and the independence campaign to which I have dedicated my life? Her conclusion was that the answer to both questions was “no”.

The Scottish prime minister also notes the growing polarization of the public debate. According to her, the focus is more often on people than on the problems themselves. “I feel more and more that the strong opinions that people have about me, some honest and others more than caricatured, are a barrier to reasonable debate in our country. Advertisements and decisions that should not be controversial, are divisive issues becoming almost irrational.”

These jobs are tough. Giving your all is the only way to do that. When asked by a reporter, she said she had “less and less energy” to continue.

Her departure should give the SNP the opportunity to decide freely how it wants to achieve independence. Sturgeon will remain prime minister until her party elects a successor. She affirms that she will not leave politics and will continue to fight for independence. “I believe my successor will lead Scotland to independence, and I will salute him or her every step of the way.”

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setbacks

Sturgeon has been Prime Minister of Scotland since 2014. After the independence referendum, which the Nationalists lost, she succeeded Alex Salmond. Under Salmond’s leadership, the SNP grew to be the most powerful party in Scotland. The Scottish National Party has been ruling the country since 2007. Sturgeon and salmon were once inseparable, but their political relationship has soured.

In November, Sturgeon suffered another setback after the UK Supreme Court ruled that the Scottish government could not hold a second referendum without the consent of the British Parliament. Sturgeon reacted angrily. So she wanted the next general election to be about independence

It is also at odds with London over transgender law. In December, the Scottish Parliament overwhelmingly passed a bill that removes all medical, administrative and legal obstacles to gender reassignment. Everyone over the age of sixteen should be able to decide for themselves their gender. But the Conservative government in London vetoed the bill. This had never happened before and reignited tensions between Edinburgh and London.

Not everyone within the SNP, Prime Minister Sturgeon’s nationalist party, was also unhappy with the transgender law.

Sturgeon has also said nothing about police investigations into her party’s finances. “But these things are not the reason I am standing here today,” said the Scottish Prime Minister at the press conference.

Megan Vasquez

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