Alex Salmond has revealed plans to return to Holyrood as leader of the Alba Party.
The Alba Party will content the upcoming Scottish elections as a list-only party, led by the former first minister.
In a live broadcast, the former Gordon MP said the party was seeking to build a “supermajority” for independence.
Mr Salmond – who quit the SNP in 2018 to focus on clearing his name after being accused of sexual assault – said: “Over the next six weeks we will promote new ideas about taking Scotland forward giving primacy to economic recovery from the pandemic and the achievement of independence for our country.
“We expect to field a minimum of four candidates in each regional list and are hoping to elect Alba MSPs for every area of Scotland.”
Party hopes to create ‘super majority’ for independence
The other Alba candidates for the May 6 elections confirmed so far are Eva Comrie, for Mid Scotland and Fife, Cynthia Guthrie, for south of Scotland, and Chris McAllaney, for west of Scotland.
Mr Salmond – who has previously been MP for Banff and Buchan, Aberdeenshire East MSP and Gordon MP – said the party’s strategic aims are “clear and unambiguous”.
Standing in front of a blue backdrop with the slogan Independence #Supermajority, the North East hopeful stressed that as a list-only party, he would encourage voters to use their constituency vote for the SNP or another independence party.
The 66-year-old, from Strichen, said: “The party’s strategic aims are clear and unambiguous – to achieve a successful, socially just and environmentally responsible independent country.
“The tactics are to stand on the regional list to secure the supermajority for the independence of our parliament.
“We intend to contribute policy ideas to assist Scotland’s economic recovery and to help build an independence platform to face the new political realities.”
List party could help get more voices heard
Mr Salmond claimed the launch of the party – founded by journalist Laurie Flynn – could help stop votes from being wasted.
“At the last election there were nearly one million wasted SNP votes on the regional list,” he said. “Only four SNP MSPs were elected in that way. In yesterday’s Survation poll the SNP would elect no regional seats at all from a million votes on the list. They would all be totally wasted independence votes. If Alba wins regional list seats the wasted votes end.”
He stressed that as a list-only party, he would urge voters to continue voting for the SNP or another independence party for a constituency seat.
“Boris Johnson has already said no to the SNP proposals. He will find it much more difficult to say no to parliament and a country.
“And the independence debate will be recast not as the Tories against the SNP but Boris Johnson against Scotland’s parliament representing Scotland’s people. Today Alba are hoisting a ﬂag in the wind – planting our saltire on a hill.
“In the next few weeks we shall see how many will rally to our standard.”
News comes as Salmond prepares to launch fresh action against Scottish Government
The announcement comes just days after Mr Salmond announced he would be taking fresh legal action against the Scottish Government over its bungled sexual misconduct probe into him in 2018.
It followed a scathing Holyrood inquiry report into mistakes in the case and in the way the government defend a judicial review action won by Mr Salmond against it in 2019.
Mr Salmond was cleared of the criminal charges against him following a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh last March.
A very different kind of press call
Today’s Zoom call was significantly different to when Mr Salmond announced his plans to return to Westminster politics just three months after losing the independence referendum and resigning as first minister.
After weeks of speculation, Mr Salmond organised a press briefing on a cold December Sunday at the New Inn Hotel in Ellon.
In front of a packed out crowd of SNP supporters, he announced he would be standing for the Gordon seat which had been held by Lib Dem Malcolm Bruce since 1983.
At the time, he told the crowd that with “so much at stake for Scotland” it would be impossible for him to stand on the sidelines and not attempt to return to Westminster.
He won the election by a landslide, ending the Lib Dems’ reign.
Mr Salmond was defeated in the 2017 election by Conservative Colin Clark.