THE new leader of the SNP will be announced today with the winner set to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as Scotland’s first minister.

Kate Forbes, Ash Regan and Humza Yousaf are in the running to take over from the outgoing SNP leader, who will formally tender her resignation to the King today.

Her exchange with the monarch – who has to rubber-stamp the next FM – will come shortly after the new party leader is announced.

The winner does not automatically become first minister.

The head of the Scottish Government must be appointed by the parliament and has always been the leader of the largest party in the parliament.

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This is expected to remain the case this time around, meaning whoever takes charge of the SNP will also become the country’s next first minister.

It will be decided by MSPs at a meeting of the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday. A vote on selecting the new FM will take place after topical questions of ministers.

It could be the last time some members of the current cabinet take questions from MSPs, if there is a major shake-up of responsibilities.

At the last election of a first minister, the leaders of the SNP, the Scottish Conservatives and the Scottish LibDems all put forward their leaders to head the government and Sturgeon was successful.

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After the first minister is elected by parliament, the Presiding Officer – whose role is similar to the Speaker in the House of Commons – recommends the King appoints the winner formally.

They are then made first minister by Royal Warrant and sworn in at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

The winner of the election will be Scotland’s sixth first minister and will either be the country’s second female leader (if Forbes or Regan are successful) or the first leader from an ethnic minority background (if Yousaf wins).