Addressing a press conference broadcast live by SKY TV, Salmond said he will be stepping down as Scotland’s First Minister and leader of the ruling Scottish National Party (SNP).
Salmond said his term ends after the Yes campaign’s defeat in the independence referendum, which was announced earlier Friday. However, the Scottish people’s campaign to realise the dream shall continue, he emphasised.
Salmond said his successor will be from the SNP, which indicates the current deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will assume the post.
Sturgeon is the deputy First Minister of Scotland since 2007 and the Deputy Leader of the SNP since 2004. She is also currently the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Parliament and Government Strategy, the Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities, and the Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for Glasgow Southside.
The “No” side won Thursday’s referendum by 2,001,926 votes to 1,617,989 for “Yes”, BBC reported Friday.
The national split of the vote was 55 percent for “No” to 45 percent for “Yes”.
“For me as leader my time is nearly over but for Scotland the campaign continues and the dream shall never die,” Salmond said from Bute House in Edinburgh, the first minister’s official residence.
“I am immensely proud of the campaign that Yes Scotland fought and particularly of the 1.6m voters who rallied to that cause.”
The Yes Campaign won the Scottish independence referendum by 53.49 percent votes against the No campaign’s 46.51 percent votes at the local Glasgow council.
In Thursday’s vote for the Scottish independence referendum, 55.3 percent of the Scots voted against independence while 44.7 percent voted in favor, and the turnout was 84.59 percent, according to the final result of the total 32 local councils announced by Chief Counting Officer Mary Pitcaithly.
The votes for the No side and Yes side were put at about 2 million against 1.62 million, showed the announced final referendum result.
In October 2012, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, leader of the ruling Scottish National Party, signed the Edinburgh Agreement, allowing Scotland to hold an independence referendum in autumn 2014 on the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
This was the first Scottish independence referendum in Britain’s history, and also the third referendum for Scotland after the two previous ones held respectively in 1979 and 1997 on Scottish devolution.
The referendum in 1979 failed to gain the mandatory 40 percent of the electorate, while the latter succeeded with an overwhelming majority of voters backing devolution.
As a devolved legislature, the Scottish parliament was reconvened in 1999 with authorities over some limited areas of home affairs, and the parliament of the UK keeps “reserved” powers including the ability to amend the terms of reference of the Scottish parliament.