Scotland politics

Who does Nicola Sturgeon follow as first minister of Scotland?

The new Scottish National Party leader, Nicola Sturgeon, is expected to be elected First Minister of Scotland. She will be the first woman to take the role, but whose footsteps does she follow in? Use this guide to find out who has gone before her......

  • Donald Dewar


    13 May 1999 - 11 October 2000

    Donald Dewar secured his place in history when he became first minister of the first Scottish Parliament in almost 300 years. He was known for an astute legal brain, fierce, fast and formidable debating skills and squaring up to the opposition benches. The Labour politician died in October 2000 while in office.

  • Jim Wallace


    Between 1999 and 2001

    Jim Wallace never held the post on a permanent basis but was called on to do the job on three occasions when sickness, death and scandal befell the Labour incumbent. The Liberal Democrat's chief role at Holyrood was deputy first minister, a post he had from 1999 to 2005.

  • Henry McLeish


    26 October 2000 - 8 November 2001

    Henry McLeish was seen as a safe pair of hands to take over the reins following the death of Donald Dewar. But the Fife MSP's downfall came during a row over his Westminster constituency office expenses, which was dubbed 'officegate'. Since leaving frontline politics he has served on SNP government commissions looking at prisons, football, broadcasting and colleges.

  • Jack McConnell


    22 November 2001 - 16 May 2007

    Following Henry McLeish's resignation, Lord McConnell won the job. As first minister, he saw through the ban on smoking in public places and forged new links with the African country of Malawi, one of the poorest in the world. He stood down as Scottish Labour leader after the SNP's 2007 election win, moving to the backbenches for four years.

  • Alex Salmond


    16 May 2007 - 19 November 2014

    Alex Salmond was a high-profile politician before he won two historic Holyrood elections as SNP leader, securing the mandate to hold a referendum on Scottish independence in the process. After voters rejected independence by 55% to 45% on 18 September, the following day, Mr Salmond announced he was standing down as first minister and SNP leader.