Transport Minister Nicol Stephen has been elected as the new leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.
Nicol Stephen beat Mike Rumbles in the Lib Dem leadership battle
Mr Stephen has replaced Jim Wallace, and secured more than 75% of the votes against rival Mike Rumbles
The ballot turnout measured 65% with Mr Stephen receiving 76.6% of the vote, against Mr Rumbles' 23.4%.
The Labour/Lib Dem coalition means the 45-year-old also becomes deputy first minister, the second most senior job in the Scottish government.
Mr Wallace is stepping down after 13 years and plans to leave the Scottish Parliament in 2007.
The Orkney politician announced his decision to step down from the leadership last month and said he had been considering the move for some time.
He said he wanted to make way for fresh blood in the party following the recent general election.
In his victory speech Mr Stephen paid tribute to his defeated rival, describing him as "always positive and fair".
The Aberdeen South MSP also spoke of a promising future for the party on the back of its "tremendous" success in the recent Westminster election.
He said: "We are well placed for the future. We have got great credibility now in terms of the whole of Scotland.
"We are reaching out to new parts of Scotland. I believe that credibility built by Jim Wallace and my colleagues gives us not just a foundation but a springboard and launch pad to greater success in the future."
He told the party he wanted "fresh thinking and new ideas" for the next Holyrood elections in two years' time.
"I want us to be seen as pro-education, pro-the economy, pro-business, pro-the environment," he explained.
"I want our ideas to be radical, responsible and reforming.
"Most of all we need to see a positive campaign promoting our policies, not pillorying the personalities of opponents.
"All of us need to be motivated, energised and committed.
"My strategy is to aim high, my vision is a Liberal Scotland and Scotland's future is best with the Liberal Democrats."
Following the result, Mr Stephen said there would be no immediate ministerial changes until he had spoken with First Minister Jack McConnell, which would come after taking soundings at a forthcoming Lib Dem "away day" in Dunblane.
Mr Stephen unveiled his leadership manifesto earlier this month where he promised to introduce lower business taxes, fully funded student grants and to oppose any new nuclear power developments in Scotland.
The Aberdeen South MSP also refused to rule out a coalition deal with any party but insisted he would take the Lib Dems into the 2007 election independently.
Reacting to the result, Mr Rumbles said: "I'm delighted to congratulate Nicol on his great win.
"He will be an excellent leader and I very much look forward to continuing to work with him to take the party forward."
The Scottish National Party's Holyrood leader also wished Mr Stephen success in his new role.
She said: "I'd like to offer my personal congratulations to Nicol Stephen on his victory today.
"I hope that the Lib Dems under Nicol will be more likely to stand up for their principles in the Scottish Executive."