The former leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and First Minister has announced the creation of a new pro-independence party which will stand in the Scottish Parliament election this May. Mr Salmond said the “Alba Party”, will field at least four candidates in each regional list. He told a party livestream on Friday that he hopes to push towards an independence “supermajority” in Holyrood.
His former ally and political protégé, Ms Sturgeon, the current Scottish First Minister, this week launched her own party’s election campaign.
She will use it as a mandate to hold a second independence referendum, but only if the SNP gains a majority in Holyrood.
While many believe First Minister Sturgeon is almost guaranteed this, others have noted the growing dissidence in the country.
Robert Johns, Professor in Politics at Essex University who is an investigator on the Scottish Election Study, told Express.co.uk that Mr Salmond’s popularity in Scotland had been slowly growing since his fallout with Ms Sturgeon.
He said: “It’s as if he now is popular among people who don’t like independence, because they see him as the most effective leader of the opposition.
“If you look at his poll popularity it’s actually gone up among people who voted against independence but down a lot for people who voted for independence.”
He said that this was a result of the “SNP having done a really good job persuading their supporters to be on team Sturgeon over team Salmond”.
Many claimed that the Sturgeon-Salmond saga might harm the SNP’s image in the country.
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Mr Salmond’s “supermajority” pitch is an opportunity to hammer home independence post-May elections.
Under Hoylrood’s system, the more constituency seats you win, the harder it is to win them on the list.
Mr Salmond wants people to use the latter to back his party.
Mr Eardley noted: “But this is a big moment in Scottish politics.
“The SNP have managed to hold a broad pro-independence coalition together. Today that is fracturing.”
The move challenges the SNP privilege of being the only serious political party in Scotland to offer independence.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will now be expected to respond to the news.
Earlier this year, he set up a “five-step” plan to stop Indyref2.
It has already faced obstacles.
Luke Graham, Mr Johnson’s adviser tasked with protecting the UK from splitting up stepped down last month.
Insiders told Sky News that after nearly a year working in Downing Street, he had not been effective enough and fears were looming ahead of the Holyrood elections.