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Scotland's Nicola Sturgeon announces resignation

Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon speaks in Perth, Scotland, in 2017, She announced Wednesday that she is stepping down from her position as first minister. File Photo by Robert Perry/EPA
1 of 2 | Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon speaks in Perth, Scotland, in 2017, She announced Wednesday that she is stepping down from her position as first minister. File Photo by Robert Perry/EPA

Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced Wednesday she is resigning the position.

Sturgeon, a longtime Brexit foe who embraced Scottish independence, said in the surprise announcement it was time for fresh leadership in the Scottish National Party after eight years.

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"In my head and my heart I know that time is now," Sturgeon said in a statement. "That it is right for me, for my party and for the country. ... I have asked the national secretary of the SNP to begin the process of electing a new party leader, and I will remain in office until my successor is in place.

"I know there will be some across the country who feel upset by this decision, and by the fact I am taking it now. Of course, to balance that, there will be others who -- how should I put this -- will cope with the news just fine."

Sturgeon said her decision was not influenced by more recent challenges. The British government blocked a bill reforming Scotland's gender self-declaration laws. She also faced criticism for housing a convicted rapist, who changed their gender, in a women's prison. That decision was eventually reversed.

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"I know it will be tempting, unavoidable perhaps, to see it as such, this decision is not simply a reaction to short-term pressures. Of course, there are difficult issues confronting the government just now. But when is that ever not the case?

"I have spent almost three decades in frontline politics -- a decade and a half on the top or second top rung of government. When it comes to navigating choppy waters, resolving seemingly intractable issues, or soldiering on when walking away would be the simpler option, I have plenty of experience to draw on."

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