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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 May 2007, 12:23 GMT 13:23 UK
In quotes: Alex Salmond's election
Scottish political and religious figures react to First Minister Alex Salmond's acceptance speech.

SNP LEADER AND FIRST MINISTER ALEX SALMOND

Alex Salmond
Alex Salmond has been sworn in as First Minister

Scotland is ready for change, ready for reform.

We are a small nation but we have a big future. We also have some big challenges.

We seek independence and equality for Scotland.

Today I commit myself to leadership wholly and exclusively in the Scottish national interest.

We will appeal for support policy by policy across this chamber.

That is the parliament the people of Scotland elected and that is the government that I will be proud to lead.

LABOUR LEADER JACK MCCONNELL

Voltaire once said that governments need both shepherds and butchers and I think Alex may need to be more of a shepherd than a butcher in his new role, looking around this flock here and trying to secure majorities for his policies.

He will have our support when his decisions are right. We will, of course, not oppose for its own sake.

But we will bring forward to the chamber, for robust debate, the policies in which we believe too.

CONSERVATIVE LEADER ANNABEL GOLDIE

This is a proud day for Alex Salmond. It is politically a day of great significance and a huge responsibility rests on his shoulders and also those of his colleagues.

On behalf of the Scottish Conservatives I congratulate him, we wish him well.

LIB DEM LEADER NICOL STEPHEN

We recognise the responsibility on all of us, each and every one of us in this chamber, to make it work and work effectively.

Scotland rightly has great expectations and those expectations now rightly rest on your shoulder. We wish you well.

ROMAN CATHOLIC LEADER CARDINAL KEITH O'BRIEN

I welcome the news that Alex Salmond has been elected as the first minister of Scotland. Having met with him previously in London and in Edinburgh, I am sure that he will work for the good of all the people of this country.

I have had very friendly relations with previous first ministers and members of the Scottish Executive, and I look forward to the same friendly relations continuing in the next four years of the life of this Scottish Parliament.






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