Alex Salmond insists the Alba Party will become a political force in Scotland despite conceding they are unlikely to win any seats in this election.
The former first minister said his party was hoping for a “parliamentary breakthrough” but “had not achieved its objective”.
However, he revealed he will “stay active” within Alba but said the decision on who would lead the party would rest with members at their party conference next month.
Mr Salmond also confirmed, following a virtual meeting with his party’s candidates on Saturday, that Alba is almost certain to field candidates at next year’s local elections.
‘Sometimes you can win an argument but lose an election’
Speaking in Ellon – after failing to turn up to the Aberdeen election count on Saturday morning – he said: “My agreement was to take Alba through this election.
“That’s what I was asked to do and I said I would because it was felt as a chance at getting the prominence required.
“Sometimes in politics you can win an argument but lose an election.
“If that happens then winning the argument becomes important for the next election.
“Alba is going to be a fixture of the political scene in Scotland for some time to come.”
Mr Salmond said it was clear by results in constituencies such as Eastwood and Dumbarton that unionist parties had voted tactically.
Yet he argued the SNP leadership were “sending people over the top to pile up a million votes on the list that will be totally wasted”.
The Alba Party leader again cited his absence in the TV debates as the reason his party had not cut through with voters.
He argued the Covid-19 pandemic meant this year’s election, more than any other he could remember, had been “dominated and controlled by the television debates”.
Mr Salmond said: “What happened after the BBC decided there were only five parties contesting this election, they then reported these five parties every day and every bulletin.”
When asked if his low popularity ratings had an impact on the number of voters backing is party, Mr Salmond said the best results for his party could be seen in Banff and Buchan and Aberdeenshire East, the region in which he was standing.
In these seats, the party polled at just over three per cent.
On the SNP’s electoral success so far, he said: “Nicola has won the election and I congratulate her on that.
“But with victory comes responsibility, Nicola is now responsible for delivering the independence test she’s promised people.
“She’s promised an independence referendum.”