On 15 February, Nicola Sturgeon unexpectedly announced that she is stepping

down as first minister of Scotland. The Scottish National Party (SNP) will have an

election to decide her successor as SNP leader. 

Here is the timeline for the leadership election:

- 16 February: Nominations open

- 24 February: Nominations close

- 13 March: Voting opens

- 27 March: Voting closes and result announced

Three candidates will take part in the race to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as the leader

of the Scottish National Party: Scotland’s health secretary Humza Yousaf, finance

secretary Kate Forbes and former community safety minister Ash Regan. All SNP

members will get a vote.

Once the next SNP leader is elected, Nicola Sturgeon will submit her resignation as

first minister to the King. The Scottish parliament will then be asked to recommend

who the King should appoint as new first minister. 

The SNP holds 64 out of 129 seats in the Scottish parliament. They have a

cooperation agreement with the Scottish Greens, giving the current Scottish government a parliamentary majority.

Since devolution began in 1999 there have been 5 leaders of the Scottish