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  • Nicola Ferguson Sturgeon is the fifth and current First Minister of Scotland and the Leader of the Scottish National Party. She is the first woman to hold either position. Sturgeon represents Glasgow Southside as its MSP. A law graduate of the University of Glasgow, Sturgeon worked as a solicitor in Glasgow. She was first elected to the Scottish Parliament in 1999, and served successively as the SNP's shadow minister for education, health and justice. In 2004, she announced that she would stand as a candidate for the leadership of the SNP following the resignation of John Swinney. However, she later withdrew from the contest in favour of Alex Salmond, standing instead as depute leader on a joint ticket with Salmond. Both were subsequently elected, and Sturgeon led the SNP in the Scottish Parliament from 2004 to 2007, when Alex Salmond was elected to the Scottish Parliament in the 2007 election. The SNP won the highest number of seats in the Scottish Parliament following the 2007 election, and Alex Salmond was subsequently appointed First Minister of Scotland. He appointed Sturgeon as Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing.

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