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Sturgeon sworn in as First Minister

Nicola Sturgeon will be officially sworn in as Scotland's First Minister today.

Ms Sturgeon, 44, succeeds Alex Salmond who announced he would step down after a majority of voters rejected independence in September's referendum.

MSPs approved his former deputy as the new head of the Scottish Government in a vote at Holyrood yesterday.

Scotland's first female leader will be officially sworn in at the Court of Session in Edinburgh this morning.

At the Scottish Parliament later she will take questions for the first time in the new role.

Ms Sturgeon has vowed to lead a ''bold, imaginative and adventurous'' government which will build a ''social democratic and socially just'' nation.

And she said she hopes her election as First Minister " opens the gate to greater opportunity for all women".

Mr Salmond, 59, officially left Bute House on Tuesday.

He said in a farewell address to MSPs: ''Any parting is tinged with some sorrow, but in this case it is vastly outweighed by a sense of optimism and confidence.

''Confidence that we will have an outstanding new First Minister, confidence in the standing and the capability of this chamber and, most of all, confidence in the wisdom, talent and potential of the people of Scotland.''

Ms Sturgeon yesterday received a telephone call from the Prime Minister to congratulate her on the appointment.

''Both agreed they wanted to build upon the relationship with her predecessor and to work together constructively in the spirit of the Edinburgh Agreement,'' a No 10 spokesman said.

''They also discussed the Smith Commission and the Prime Minister underlined his commitment to continue to deliver on the vow made by the three pro-UK parties for further powers to the Scottish Parliament and to stick to the clear timetable set out.''

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