Alex Salmond has announced his intention to resign as First Minister of Scotland.
Speaking on Friday, September 19, Mr Salmond said he would not accept nomination for leader at its Scottish National Party’s annual conference in November and, after the party membership ballot there, he will stand down as First Minister.
Mr Salmond said: “I’m immensely proud of the campaign which we have fought and of the 1.6 million voters who rallied to that cause by backing an independent Scotland.
I am also proud of the 85 per cent turn-out in the referendum and the remarkable response of all of the people of Scotland who participated in this great democratic, constitutional debate and of course in the manner in which they conducted themselves.
“We now have the opportunity to hold Westminster’s feet to the fire on the vow that they have made to devolve further meaningful power to Scotland; this places Scotland in a very strong position.
“For me right now, therefore there is a decision as to who is best placed to lead this process forward politically.
“I believe this is a new exciting situation that is redolent with possibility, but in that situation I think that Party, Parliament and Country would benefit from new leadership, therefore, I have told the national secretary of the Scottish National Party that I will not accept nomination to be a candidate for leader at the annual conference in Perth.
“After the membership ballot I will stand down as First Minister to allow the new leader to be elected by due parliamentary process, until then I will continue to serve as First Minister, after that I will continue to offer to serve as Member of the Scottish Parliament for Aberdeenshire East.
Mr Salmond added: “It has been the privilege of my life to serve Scotland as First Minister, but as I’ve said often during the referendum campaign, this is not about me or the SNP, or any political party – it is much more important than that.
“The position is this - we lost the referendum vote but can still carry the political initiative, more importantly, Scotland can still emerge as the real winner.
“For me as leader, my time is nearly over but for Scotland, the campaign continues and the dream shall never die.”
Alex Salmond is Scotland’s longest-serving First Minister, having led his party to two successive election victories.
Mr Salmond succeeded Scottish Labour leader Jack McConnell as First Minister in May 2007, leading a minority administration after the SNP secured the largest number of seats at Holyrood.
Four years later the SNP won an unprecedented majority in the Scottish Parliament.