WATCH: Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's resignation speech

Nicola Sturgeon speaks during a press conference at Bute House in Edinburgh, Wednesday, Feb. 15 2023.
Nicola Sturgeon speaks during a press conference at Bute House in Edinburgh, Wednesday, Feb. 15 2023. Copyright AP
Copyright AP
By Euronews
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After eight years in office, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is set to step down as the country's longest serving leader

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Scotland's longest-serving first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has announced her intention to resign, saying that part of serving in politics is knowing when it is time to make way for someone else.

Speaking at a news conference at her official residence in Edinburgh, Bute House, Sturgeon said she wrestled with the decision, but that the pressure of the job was relentless and that she is a human being as well as a politician.

Sturgeon, who has led the country's devolved government and the Scottish National Party for eight years, has faced months of controversy over a law that makes it simpler for people to change their gender on official documents.

The decision caught political observers by surprise, despite the ongoing controversy over the gender recognition measure. She had vowed to take the British government to court over its decision to block the law and argued that the Conservative UK government was making a "profound mistake" by vetoing the Gender Recognition Reform Bill.

But the measure was only one controversy in a career where Sturgeon has been noted for rarely putting a foot wrong.

She had been lauded for her response, for example, to the COVID-19 pandemic, where she won praise for her sober, straight-talking abilities.

That catapulted the idea of Scottish independence from the United Kingdom -- the long-held dream of Sturgeon’s nationalist government -- back up the political agenda.

Scotland is part of the UK but, like Wales and Northern Ireland, has its own semi-autonomous government with broad powers over areas including health care.

Watch Nicola Sturgeon's resignation speech on the video player above.

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