Sturgeon To Declare Leadership Bid

Nicola Sturgeon is today expected to formally announce her bid to become leader of the SNP and Scotland's First Minister.

Ms Sturgeon, who has been Deputy First Minister since the nationalists came to power at Holyrood in 2007, has emerged as the overwhelming favourite to take over the post from Alex Salmond.

He announced his intention to step down on Friday after Scotland voted against independence in last week's referendum.

Nominations for the position of the new leader of the SNP open this morning, but it is not anticipated that anyone else from the party will stand against Ms Sturgeon.

The 44-year-old would then officially become the first female leader of the SNP at the party's annual conference in Perth in November, before becoming the next First Minister of Scotland after that. It would also be the first time a woman has held that position.

Ms Sturgeon, who has been deputy leader of the SNP for the last 10 years, will set out her position at a press conference in Glasgow city centre this morning.

It comes just six days after the independence referendum, where 45% voted for Scotland to leave the UK while 55% backed the union.

In the wake of the result, Mr Salmond - who has led the SNP for a total of 20 years - said it is time for a new leader who could take the devolution process forward.

He stated: ''I believe that in this new exciting situation, redolent with possibility, party, parliament and country would benefit from new leadership."

Ms Sturgeon paid tribute to the man she hailed as her ''friend, mentor and colleague'' last week when he revealed he would be stepping down from the post.

She had already said that she could ''think of no greater privilege than to seek to lead the party I joined when I was just 16".

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