Former Scottish leader launches pro-independence party

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LONDON

With the clock counting down to local elections, Scotland’s former first minister on Friday launched a new political party with the intention of leading Scotland to independence.

The new party, according to Alex Salmond, will be a new political force in Scottish politics and will aim to capture a “supermajority” to achieve independence for Scotland.

“Today I am announcing the public launch of a new political force, the Alba Party. Alba will contest the upcoming Scottish elections as a list-only party under my leadership seeking to build a supermajority for independence in the Scottish parliament,” Salmond said in a live broadcast.

“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 we are hoping to elect Alba MSPs [members of the Scottish parliament]from every area of Scotland,” he added.

He appealed to the Scottish public for support in the May 6 local elections and promised he would do everything in his power to steer Scotland to independence.

Salmond made clear, however, that the Alba Party will not be challenging the Scottish National Party, the current flag bearer for Scottish independence and the main political force in Holyrood, the Scottish parliament.

“We are not challenging the SNP in the constituencies. Indeed we are saying vote SNP or for an independence party on the constituency section. We are giving that support. Our campaign that we have launched is going to be entirely positive.”

The move, however, threatens to split the independence movement in half and wreak havoc in the ranks of the SNP. The launch also coincides with internal strife between current First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Holyrood, and Salmond himself.

Last week Sturgeon was cleared of breaching the ministerial code of conduct following her dealings with Salmond, who was himself accused of sexual harassment but acquitted last year.

The launch of the party marks the return of the veteran politician to front-line Scottish politics since his defeat in the 2017 UK general election. ​​​​​​

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