Alex Salmond: Alba will 'fill void in independence cause'
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Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, a former SNP MP for Ochil and South Perthshire, has become the latest high profile figure to join the pro-independence movement. The 50-year-old also served as the SNP’s women’s and equalities convener until 2018. She has been placed at the top of the Alba Party’s list for the Central Scotland region in the upcoming Scottish Parliament elections.
Sitting SNP MPs Kenny MacAskill and Neale Hanvey have already switched their affiliation to the Alba Party.
Former SNP MP for East Lothian, George Kerevan, has also teamed up with Mr Salmond’s new group.
A number of other SNP representatives have also joined, in a humiliating turn of events for SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon.
The former First Minister of Scotland has announced 32 candidates – four in the eight regional lists – to stand in the election on May 6.
Mr Salmond announced a sensational return to frontline politics as the leader of the new movement at an online conference last Friday.
He said the party aims to create a “supermajority” in order to force a second vote on independence.
The SNP has vowed to hold another vote on independence if the party wins a majority in Holyrood.
The Alba Party will not be fielding candidates against the SNP and will attempt to win seats using Holyrood’s regional lists.
In Scotland, the proportional representation system sees MSPs elected from constituencies.
Additional members are elected from eight regional lists in a bid to ensure each party’s total number of MSPs is in proportion to the percentage of votes it receives.
Mr Salmond said: “This is a thrilling list with a depth of talent, diversity and experience which I am proud to lead into the election.
“Five days ago I asked how many would rally to the Alba standard.
“The answer comes in this hugely impressive list today.
“Alba is set to make a big impact as we seek to build the supermajority for independence in the next Scottish Parliament.”
Ms Sturgeon has criticised Mr Salmond’s decision to form a new party and warned the decision could backfire and damage the independence movement.
In an interview with the Daily Record, the First Minister claimed Mr Salmond was “standing because he loves the limelight”.
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She said: “I think he will be telling himself he is somehow advancing the independence cause but I think he is standing because he loves the limelight and can’t bear not to be on the stage.”
Ms Sturgeon added: “One, people don’t like the idea that you are trying to game an electoral system but, secondly, once you start doing that you are effectively gambling with the outcome of the election.
“And it could quite easily backfire and undermine the ability to get that majority that then provides the foundation for an independence referendum.”
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