Like in many other locations, politics in Scotland have become vastly tense. Perhaps that's not so surprising in place with such a history of debate over separatism. But even among separatists, things have gotten precarious.

The Scottish National Party has had a vise grip on regional politics in recent years. But it may have found itself in its most vulnerable position in quite some time. Including the resignation of Nicola Sturgeon as SNP leader and Scottish first minister.

Humza Yousaf wins Scottish National Party leadership race

Humza Yousaf has taken over as the new leader of the Scottish National Party, the BBC reports.

His winning within the party also effectively meant that he won the race to become first minister. Finishing as the runner-up was Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes. Former Community Safety Minister Ash Regan had also been in the running.

Yousaf's leadership tenure got off to a tumultuous start. His intentions to keep with party policies that had drawn backlash drew scorn, including continuing to support the controversial gender bill that went into effect earlier this year. The backlash from the bill's unintended consequences has been thorough and swift. Forbes and Regan both stated their opposition to the bill. Yousaf has also promoted Scottish republicanism, a prospect that has tended not to draw much support.

However, all three continued to state their support for Scottish Independence. Something that at present is a virtual legal impossibility following a 2022 UK Supreme Court ruling. Public opinion polling in favor of Independence did initially spike following the verdict. But more recently, polling has indicated a steep decline in support.

With some voters wish the SNP would focus less on separatism. Instead, they are emphasizing Scottish interests within the tent of the United Kingdom.

Internal party strains may have gotten worse

But there were enough differing views among the party's leftist wing and the more moderate factions to intensify frictions. Those on the left tended to support Yousaf, and moderates tended to go for Forbes.

Some hoped that Yousaf would appoint Forbes as his deputy first minister as a show of unity. But, as indicated by The Daily Telegraph, he most decidedly did not do that. Instead, he gave that assignment to Shona Robison, previously the social justice secretary.

Forbes supporters might still have been more assuaged if he'd given her a different top Cabinet post. What he did offer her was the position of rural affairs secretary. It was widely viewed as a demotion from her previous role as finance secretary. Some regarded the offer as an insult. Conservative MSP Craig Hoy said Yousaf "poured petrol on the SNP civil war" with the move.

Forbes turned down the rural affairs job. They were instead opting to return to backbench duties.

Yousaf is the son of two immigrants

Humza Yousaf is a native of Glasgow. His father was born in Pakistan, and his mother in Kenya. Yousaf received an early education at Hutchesons' Grammar School. He would eventually graduate from the University of Glasgow.

Yousaf worked as a staffer for MSP Bashir Ahmad. He was first elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2011. The following year, First Minister Alex Salmond appointed him as Europe and international development minister. Nicola Sturgeon initially kept him in the role before first naming him minister of transport and the islands.

Sturgeon moved Yousaf to the official Cabinet in 2018, making him justice secretary. In 2021, he was appointed as health secretary.