Humza Yousaf was formally nominated as Scotland's next first minister on Tuesday. File photo by Robert Perry/EPA-EFE
March 28 (UPI) -- Scottish Parliament on Tuesday voted to officially nominate Humza Yousaf as its next first minister.
Members of parliament voted 71-57 to select Yousaf out of a field of four nominees after he was narrowly elected to serve as the head of the Scottish National Party on Monday.
"This is a really proud day for me and my family," Yousaf said in a statement. "I hope it is also a proud day for Scotland, as it speaks to our values as a country as I stand here as the first ever Muslim to lead a western democratic nation."
Yousaf will be formally appointed with a royal warrant from King Charles III on Tuesday and sworn in as the new first minister on Wednesday.
Yousaf said he will appoint Shona Robison as deputy first minister, saying that her counsel and cross-government experience have been "indispensable to me" so far.
"I look forward to working together as we deliver for the people of Scotland," Yousaf said. "The parliament has given me the opportunity to help steer this nation's course, as we make the next stage of that journey together."
Robison said she looks forward to working in Yousaf's cabinet and expressed confidence in Yousaf's leadership.
"I look forward to working with him and our cabinet on the issues that matter most to the people of Scotland," Robison said. "I have served alongside Humza for a long time and I know that his leadership will build on the solid foundations we have been left by the former first minister and deputy first minister."
Yousaf said he wanted to protect his fellow Scots from Britain's cost-of-living crisis and promised to reform the National Health Services. He also promised to extend childcare, improve rural housing, support small businesses, and boost innovation.
"On Thursday, I will nominate the team of ministers who will deliver on those priorities," Yousaf said. "I will then set out more detailed policies to this chamber in the first week after the Easter recess."
A staunch nationalist, Yousaf has pledged to continue to fight for Scotland to break free from the union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In his campaign for leadership he said that Scotland could jettison the monarchy within five years of gaining independence.
"My solemn commitment to you is that I will kickstart our grassroots, civic-led movement and ensure our drive for independence is in fifth gear," Yousaf said in his victory speech.
"The people of Scotland need independence now more than ever before and we will be the generation that delivers it."
Yousaf was nominated after his predecessor, Nicola Sturgeon, left Bute House in Edinburgh for the last time Tuesday after handing in her official resignation letter after more than eight years in office.
"Just signed my formal letter of resignation and departed Bute House for the final time," Sturgeon said in a Twitter post.
In her resignation letter, which is addressed to the king, Sturgeon said it had been her "pleasure" to serve him and the late Queen Elizabeth II as first minister.