Nicola Sturgeon To Be Re-Elected First Minister

Nicola Sturgeon is expected to be re-elected as First Minister of Scotland in a vote at the Scottish Parliament.

The SNP leader will ask MSPs to select her as the nominee for the post this afternoon after her party won 63 of 129 seats in the election on May 5.

The First Minister is then formally appointed by the Queen based on the Scottish Parliament's nomination.

Ms Sturgeon has said she will lead a minority Scottish Government after the SNP fell two seats short of securing an overall majority.

She became Scotland's first female first minister in 2014, succeeding Alex Salmond who stood down following the No vote in that year's Scottish independence referendum.

Speaking in advance of the vote, she said: "During the election campaign I described the SNP manifesto as my application for the job of First Minister - and the election allowed the people of Scotland to deliver their verdict.

"I am absolutely clear that the SNP has an overwhelming mandate to continue to govern and I have a mandate to continue as First Minister. I am therefore calling on Parliament to recognise that mandate today.

"If re-elected by Parliament, I will lead a government that seeks to win votes, not simply by the force of our numbers, but by the strength of our arguments - and by the support we are able to build for our policies in the country as a whole.

"We will not assume a monopoly of wisdom. Good ideas exist across the parliamentary chamber and I promise that we will always seek to judge them on merit, rather than on their party of origin.

"That is the open, inclusive and outward looking approach to government that I will endeavour to take.

"If it is matched by opposition parties determined to be robust, but also constructive, in how they discharge their duties, then I believe it can make a real difference to how we do business and, ultimately, to how well we serve the people of Scotland.''

One of Ms Sturgeon's first tasks will be to announce her new cabinet, ministers and law officers.

She has already signalled her intention to create a new dedicated cabinet post with responsibility for the economy.

The move will separate some of the responsibilities previously covered by the finance brief, seen as necessary with the new tax and welfare powers coming to the Scottish Parliament.

As well as a third successive term for the SNP, the election resulted in the Scottish Conservatives overtaking Labour to become the second largest party at Holyrood with 31 and 24 seats respectively.

The Greens increased their presence from two to six seats, overtaking the Liberal Democrats who remain on five.

Newly-elected MSPs were sworn in at the beginning of the fifth session of the Scottish Parliament last week, with Labour's Ken Macintosh elected as the new presiding officer.

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