Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Wednesday announced her resignation from the country’s top political post as well as from the helm of the Scottish National Party (SNP).
"Today, I am announcing my intention to step down as first minister and leader of my party," she told a press conference in the capital Edinburgh.
Sturgeon said that she has asked party officials to begin the process of electing a new party leader and that she will remain in office until her successor is in place.
During her speech, Sturgeon – who is also Scotland's longest-serving first minister, in office since 2014 – said she knows that "time is now" for stepping down.
"That it is right for me, for my party, and for the country."
Explaining her decision, she said although her position has been a "privilege," it is also "rightly hard."
"And, especially in the case of the first minister, relentlessly so ... I am a human being as well as a politician," she underlined.
Sturgeon added that the first minister is a job that is can only be done by "giving absolutely everything of yourself."
"But in truth that can only be done, by anyone, for so long. For me, it is now in danger of becoming too long."
Premier Sunak thanks Sturgeon
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak thanked Sturgeon for her longstanding service.
“We will continue to work closely with the @scotgov (Scottish government) on our joint efforts to deliver for people across Scotland,” he said on Twitter.
"We disagree on many issues but I’d like to thank you @NicolaSturgeon for your long, tireless service to our country &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp; for the professional relationship we maintained as leaders," former Premier Theresa May said on Twitter.
The Scottish Nationalist Party also thanked Sturgeon – a champion of Scottish independence – for her service.
She has been in office since November 2014, after taking over from Alex Salmond.
Last May, Sturgeon became the longest-serving first minister of Scotland, breaking her predecessor’s record.
Sturgeon is Scotland's first female first minister and also the first woman to lead any of the devolved UK administrations.
Scotland has had a devolved parliament since 1999.
Since the surprise victory of pro-Brexiters in a 2016 referendum – with most Scots voting to stay in the EU – Sturgeon has pushed for a fresh referendum on Scottish independence, but the UK’s Conservative government has said it will not give permission.
Source: Anadolu Agency