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How Humza Yousaf’s resignation could trigger an early election Achi-News

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How Humza Yousaf’s resignation could trigger an early election


Achi news desk-

He would be a lame duck Prime Minister.

We might not even get there.

Some reports last night suggested that Mr Yousaf was considering his position.

Although there was quite a bit of push back from sources close to the Prime Minister, it is still possible that a visit from the men in gray kilts over the weekend would encourage him to go.

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How will Humza Yousaf resign?

He could try to do what Nicola Sturgeon did and give notice to Holyrood of his intention to resign in order to allow the SNP to hold a leadership contest.

But even if he did then he would still likely face a vote of no confidence next week, one he could still lose.

And given that the SNP as a long leadership contest could mean he is in office but not in power for weeks, the kind of “zombie government” situation we saw in the summer of 2022 when Boris Johnson was ousted.

If he resigns immediately then, in accordance with Section 46 of the Scotland Act, Holyrood has 28 days to fill the vacancy.

What does that mean?

Two things can happen here. If there is more than one nominee, say an SNP MLA and a Lib Dem MLA – they always tend to put themselves forward for these things – then whoever wins a simple majority of votes in the chamber is n get the job.

If there are three or more candidates, then the winner needs to get more votes than the combined total of the others.

Where this gets interesting, as pointed out by the Edinburgh University law lecturer Scott Wortley on Xis if there is only one nomination.

Rule 11.10.5 of the standing rules of the Scottish Parliament states: “If there is only one candidate in a round of voting, a member may vote for or against that candidate or to abstain.

“At the end of that round of voting, the President will establish the number of votes for the candidate, the number of votes against the candidate and the number of votes to abstain.

“The candidate will be chosen if there is a simple majority of votes in favor of the candidate.”

That means if the majority of MLAs vote against the nomination the position will not be filled. If the position of prime minister cannot be filled after 28 days, then an extraordinary general election will be held.

“If the Prime Minister resigns the strongest position for the opposition to force an election is for the same opposition to nominate a candidate as prime minister triggering standing rule 11.10.5 and ensuring that votes can be registered against the nominee,” Mr Wortley tweeted. .

“In that case if the vote of no confidence is successful and leads to a resignation the opposition party by not nominating someone to be prime minister can keep the pressure on by not supporting the nomination of the same candidate or anyone else of the minority government.”

What is the arithmetic?

The President does not have a casting vote when it comes to nominating a prime minister.

That means he is up to the remaining 128 MLAs in the Scottish Parliament.

The SNP currently has 63, the Scottish Conservatives 31, Scottish Labor 22, the Scottish Greens seven, the Scottish Liberal Democrats four and Alba has Ash Regan.

If the opposition parties join they will have a majority of one.

But even if Ms Regan votes with the SNP then there will be a tie and no simple majority, which means no prime minister.

How can the SNP avoid this?

There is nothing in the rules that says a party cannot nominate two people as prime minister. They could, in effect, put up a paper candidate. Someone to take one for the team.

Then all that needs to happen is for the real candidate to win more votes than the fake candidate.

As strategies go, it would be a bit odd and not without its risks.


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