The SNP leadership contest is nearing its conclusion, with Nicola Sturgeon’s successor set to be announced today at 2pm.
The party and country was shocked when the First Minister announced on 15 February that she would be stepping back from the role she has held for eight and a half years. On 2 March, Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced that he would follow her resignation, with this top job also up for grabs when a new First Minister is chosen.
In her resignation speech, Sturgeon said: “In my head and my heart, I know that time is now. That it is right for me, for my party and for the country.”
Finance secretary Kate Forbes, transport secretary Humza Yousaf and former community safety minister Ash Regan are pitting against each other to become the next lead of the party and the country. However, the campaign trail has already taken some twists and turns.
But who is currently favourite to win, and when will we find out who will be the next First Minister of Scotland? Here’s everything you need to know.
When will the SNP choose its new leader?
The leadership ballot opened on 13 March. It is due to close on 27 March at 12noon. The winner of the contest will be announced at 2pm, two hours after the ballot closes.
Who can vote in the SNP leadership contest?
The ballot is open to the SNP membership. The winner of the contest will become not only the new party leader but also the successor to Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister of Scotland.
Who is favourite to win the SNP leadership contest?
Kate Forbes, Humza Yousaf and Ash Regan have all been nominated to take part in the leadership ballot after reaching the threshold of support from party members. All candidates are on the campaign trail to gain enough support to win the entire contest.
The bookies’ favourite to win currently is Humza Yousaf, according to PaddyPower. At the time of writing, Yousaf is favourite with odds of 1/4, with Forbes following closely behind at 5/2 and Regan trailing at 33/1.
However, Kate Forbes has topped a Panelbase poll for The Sunday Times asking SNP supporters on their preference for the top job.
The poll found that 23% of respondents preferred Forbes to be the next SNP leader. Yousaf earned 15%, Regan trailed at seven per cent but 49% - a majority of respondents - stated that they were unsure about their choice.
Forbes continued in her campaign despite negative attention on her views on same-sex marriage and other social issues. The finance secretary hit the headlines after stating that had she been an MSP in 2014, she would not have voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage due to her religious beliefs.
Regan has remained an outsider in the race since it began. Her campaign is focused on uniting the party which has, in recent months, has been split by issues such as the gender reform debate as well as refocusing the aims of the SNP on independence.