Alex Salmond’s new pro-independence Alba Party has set its sights on becoming the second largest party in Holyrood after May’s Scottish election.
The former Scottish first minister has been unveiled as the leader of the party – which was registered with the Electoral Commission in January.
A statement on its website says it has a “team of candidates from across society with wide and various experience, who will stand on the regional list section in the Scottish Parliament vote on May 6 this year”.
It said the candidates are “of the calibre necessary to help rebuild and recover from the Covid pandemic, and to steer the country through the transition to independence”.
The party hopes to win second votes from SNP supporters, claiming the success Nicola Sturgeon’s party enjoys in the constituency section of the ballot means it is unlikely to gain additional seats thorough the regional lists – which are used as part of the Scottish Parliament’s system of proportional representation.
The party’s statement claims that in this way, the “Alba Party will secure a supermajority of pro-independence MSPs”.
It adds it has “a realistic prospect of becoming the second largest party in the Scottish Parliament”, ahead of both the Conservatives and Labour.
The statement says that with Prime Minister Boris Johnson refusing to give the go-ahead for a second vote on independence, a “supermajority” of pro-independence MSPs could be used as a mandate for Scotland to leave the UK.
The statement on the party’s website says: “The Westminster Government has already said it will not allow another independence referendum in Scotland.
“The #supermajority will be the only mandate needed to begin negotiating Scotland’s independence as a Parliament, rather than just a party.”
The Alba Party was set up in January by retired television producer Laurie Flynn “following extensive consultation with good and trusted friends”, the statement says.
It adds: “The sole purpose of Alba is to strengthen and deepen the movement for independence through an unstinting generosity of spirit, active and lawful campaigning and the extension of our just and democratic institutions so that they are fit for the 21st century and beyond.”
Having set up the party, Mr Flynn said he was “delighted to hand over the reigns to the former first minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond”.
He added: “He is the right person to help deliver a supermajority for independence.”