Alex Salmond has resigned as First Minister of Scotland and SNP leader following the ‘No’ vote in last Thursday’s referendum.
Mr Salmond, who will continue to serve as MSP for Aberdeenshire East, announced his resignation at a press conference last Friday.
During the press conference, Mr Salmond said he loved the fact that he is Scotland’s longest-serving First Minister, and cited restoring free higher education as one of his proudest achievements while in office.
Mr Salmond, who lives in Strichen with his wife, Moira, will continue to serve as First Minister and leader of the SNP until his party’s conference in November.
Serving as First Minister since 2007, Alex Salmond has served as SNP leader for a total of 20 years - for 10 years from 1990 and for a further 10 years since 2004. He was first elected as MP for Banff and Buchan in 1987, a position he held until the 2010 General Election.
The resignation will now trigger a leadership election, should two or more candidates stand, with Nicola Sturgeon emerging as the early favourite to succeed Mr Salmond.
Commenting, Banff and Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford said: “Alex has served the people of Scotland with passion, vision and immense dedication. His role in shaping the Scottish political landscape over the past 25 years has been immeasurable, and in the last seven years he has transformed the role of First Minister.
“Alex continues to be an outstanding MSP for East Aberdeenshire. Anyone who knows Alex, knows his extraordinary willingness to make time for his constituents, his determination to improve the lives of our people, and his desire to build a better future for Scotland.
“I am very sad that Alex is stepping down as First Minister. One of the supreme ironies of this campaign is that all along the No campaign tried to make the Referendum all about Alex. And on Friday, that’s exactly what happened, and instead of focussing on defeat, the agenda focussed on him.
“But Alex’s departure as First Minister leaves Scotland with unfinished business in terms of the new powers promised to our parliament, but the seeds of hope and expectation he has helped to plant in the hearts and minds of the people of our country will flourish in the years to come, and will make Scotland a better place for all of us.”