John Swinney, le leader du SNP, démissionne
Communiqué de presse

Publié le 22/06/04 19:41 -- mis à jour le 00/00/00 00:00

John Swinney le leader du SNP (scottish national party) a quitté la présidence du parti. Ci-dessous le discours de J. Swinney :

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"I have taken a few days to reflect on the results of the European elections and the implications for the Scottish National Party. As a result, I have decided not to seek re-nomination as leader of the Scottish National Party.

"It has become clear to me over the last few days, that the constant and relentless speculation over my position is obscuring – and crucially in my judgement, will continue to obscure - the political objectives of the SNP. I have come to the view that the SNP cannot make the electoral progress I believe is possible, if our vital political message is communicated through an endless debate about my leadership.

"As someone who has devoted all of my adult life to the cause of Scottish independence, that is something I cannot allow to happen.

"When I joined the SNP in 1979 the party was going through difficult times.

"As I said to the national conference last year, no-one could accuse me of jumping on the bandwagon.

"In the elections of that year we trailed the Conservatives by 14 points and the Labour Party by 24 points.

"Today – as a result of SNP pressure, we sit in the first Scottish Parliament for 300 years, as the main opposition party to the once all-dominant Labour Party, which has just recorded its worst electoral performance since 1918 with just 26% of the vote.

"I say that – not to gloss over the challenges facing the SNP, or to ignore the verdict of the voters – but as a reminder that far from being a low-point in the history of this party, this remains a time of real opportunity for our movement.

"It is an opportunity based on solid foundations – foundations I believe I have helped to build over the last 25 years, and in particular as Leader of the SNP over the last four years.

"Our economic message is now coherent and convincing. We are building a genuinely national coalition in support of full financial powers for the Parliament.

"We have more credibility on key public service policies than at any time in our history.

"We can be proud of our principled and consistent stand on the great international issues of the day.

"And the SNP now has a modern constitution, designed to put power into the hands of ordinary rank and file members.

"But I recognise we still have work to do.

"For those of us in the SNP, the case for independence is clearly compelling. But many voters are telling us we have not yet answered their key question: why independence?

"We are not yet seen as an alternative government in waiting.

"And despite my best efforts over the past four years, I accept that many people still do not have a clear understanding of what the SNP stands for – over and above an independent Scotland.

"As leader I take full responsibility for the fact that that we have not made as much progress in these areas as I would have liked.

"The post-devolution landscape has proved to be a turbulent time in Scottish politics.

"Established parties are having to come to terms with a multi-party system and the break-down of accepted voting patterns.

"And for the SNP in particular, the disappointment over the performance of devolution has undermined confidence in the case for self-government.

"Throughout this turbulence, I have been bolstered by the good-sense and foresight of the members of the Scottish National Party.

"Their warmth and support at national conference, national council and other party events – and particularly their countless messages of support over the past few days - is a reflection of the true nature of this party.

"Our members understand the realities of the political environment that the SNP operates in.

"We should not complain about that environment. To do so would be counter-productive because it is a fact of Scottish political life.

"But given the scale of the challenges we face, what our members need and what I appeal for today is unity within the Scottish National Party to ensure our success. No member of the SNP should ever underestimate the damage that is caused to our movement by the loose and dangerous talk of the few.

"Today I pledge my support and my co-operation to my successor who will be elected for the first time by one member one vote. And I confirm my intention to continue to represent the people of North Tayside in the Scottish Parliament for as long as they will give me the honour of doing so.

"It has been a privilege to lead the SNP during this time of the re-birth of Scottish democracy.

"I am proud to have played my part in the sometimes difficult journey the SNP is making from being a party of protest to becoming a party of government.

"It is a journey I am certain we will complete.

"And I am confident that as a party we have the arguments, the ability and the drive to lead our country to Independence.

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