Nicola Sturgeon becomes Scottish National Party leader

Nicola Sturgeon on Friday took over the leadership of the Scottish National Party (SNP) from Alex Salmond, the outspoken Scottish first minister who had led the SNP for over 20 years.

London: Nicola Sturgeon on Friday took over the leadership of the Scottish National Party (SNP) from Alex Salmond, the outspoken Scottish first minister who had led the SNP for over 20 years.

Sturgeon, 44, had been deputy first minister of Scotland since 2007, when the SNP emerged as the largest single party in the Scottish Parliament election, according to Xinhua.

She had been deputy leader of the SNP for more than 10 years before succeeding the party leadership Friday.

Following the defeat of the party`s campaign for Scottish independence in September, Salmond announced that he would step down as SNP leader and would resign as first minister after a new leader was selected.

In October, Sturgeon confirmed as the only candidate for the party leader, and officially became the SNP leader at the party`s annual conference in Perth Friday.

She is set to become the first female Scottish first minister in the coming week. Stewart Hosie, 51, a Scottish member of the British parliament since 2005, succeeded Sturgeon as SNP`s deputy leader.

"In Nicola Sturgeon we have a woman of extraordinary talent to take this party forward. I have not the slightest doubt that she will serve this country with enormous distinction when elected by the Scots parliament as our first minister," Salmond said in an address to the SNP party conference.

Salmond insisted that "Scotland will become an independent nation", despite the rejection of independence by 55 percent of all voters in the Sep 18 referendum.

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