Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon surprisingly wants to step down from office. The 52-year-old will step down after more than eight years as both leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and First Minister. After ruling out such a move a few weeks ago, Sturgeon said at a press conference on Wednesday that she felt "the time is now." She wants to remain in office as "First Minister" and party leader until a successor is found.
The last few years, especially the pandemic, have been too draining for her to be able to fill her offices with the energy they deserve, Sturgeon justified her decision. It will also help their goal of Scottish independence if the SNP were led by someone else in the future, "someone who not almost everyone in the country has judged, be it good or bad." Another reason given they have a toxic culture of political debate.
In the struggle for Scotland's independence from the United Kingdom, Sturgeon has recently had to put up with several setbacks: London is blocking a renewed vote she is seeking on the question of whether Scotland should remain part of the United Kingdom or not.
In addition, the supporters of independence lost in the highest British court. The Supreme Court has ruled that Scotland's regional parliament has no right to call a referendum without the consent of the UK government. Sturgeon said she was disappointed with the decision but accepted it. Independence must be achieved through legal and democratic means.
In addition, the dispute over a controversial gender law has recently weighed on the Scottish government. Among other things, the law, which the Scottish Parliament voted for last year, is intended to eliminate the requirement for a medical report as a prerequisite for changing the gender entry. The minimum age for an application should be lowered from 18 to 16 years.
There was a lot of criticism, with the Harry Potter author Joanne K. Rowling being one of the most prominent critics. She and her fellow campaigners fear that men could take advantage of the simplified regulations to invade areas reserved for women, such as women's changing rooms or toilets, for sexual motives. Supporters, on the other hand, see the law as a long-overdue reform that could make life easier for trans people and enable them to live self-determined lives.
Sturgeon has been in office since 2014. She is the longest serving Scottish head of government. She succeeded her party colleague at the time, Alex Salmond, who has since founded a new party.