Alex Salmond’s new Alba Party could STOP Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP gaining an outright majority

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Alex Salmond’s new Alba Party could STOP Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP gaining an outright majority

Alex Salmond's upstart pro-independence Alba Party party could ruin Nicola Sturgeon's chances of an outright SNP majority in the Scottish parliament e

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Alex Salmond’s upstart pro-independence Alba Party party could ruin Nicola Sturgeon‘s chances of an outright SNP majority in the Scottish parliament election, a new poll suggests today.  

The Savanta ComRes poll for The Scotsman predicts the SNP will return 64 MSPs, one short of the 65 needed for a majority.

The poll predicts the Alba Party will return none – meaning no Holyrood return for Mr Salmond himself. 

But it is forecast to take 3 per cent of the list vote, which would be enough to derail Ms Sturgeon’s hopes of governing alone in Scotland.

The Scottish Greens are expected to win 10 seats and form a pro-independence coalition with the SNP under the poll results. 

The poll predicts the Alba Party will return none - meaning no Hollyrood return for Mr Salmond himself.

The poll predicts the Alba Party will return none – meaning no Hollyrood return for Mr Salmond himself.

But it is forecast to take 3 per cent of the list vote, which would be enough to derail Ms Sturgeon's hopes of governing alone in Scotland.

But it is forecast to take 3 per cent of the list vote, which would be enough to derail Ms Sturgeon’s hopes of governing alone in Scotland.

How does the Holyrood election work? 

On May 6 Scots will be electing 129 MSPs for Holyrood.

But unlike at Westminster, there is a form of proportional representation to decide who gets the seats. 

There are two routes for MSPs to be elected, with each voter having two ballots to cast.

Specific ‘constituency’ MSPs are returned to represent the 73 constituencies in Scotland.

Those are ‘first past the post’ contests, the same as Westminster elections.

The second ballot is used to elect 56 ‘list’ members. 

Each of the eight Parliamentary regions returns seven MSPs. 

But in this instance, voters back parties rather than candidates. 

It is this list that Alba is standing candidates on. It is not standing in the constituency vote. 

The parties are then allocated a number of ‘list’ MSPs on the basis of their support – and they have a list of candidates by priority to take the seats.

The aim is to make the result more proportional.  

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Commenting on the Scotsman poll, SNP depute leader Keith Brown said: ‘This poll shows this election outcome on a knife-edge, and reinforces that only by voting SNP on May 6 can people guarantee an SNP government, led by Nicola Sturgeon, which has the plans to remobilise our NHS, kick-start our economic recovery and improve lives across the country.

‘At this election the way to ensure that people in Scotland are given the democratic opportunity to choose a better future – once the threat posed by the pandemic has passed – is to vote for the SNP. Anything else is taking a chance on the country’s future’

The survey projects the SNP would return a constituency vote of 49 per cent and a list vote of 40 per cent

The number of Alba voters questioned in the survey of 1,007 Scottish adults was ‘extremely small’, however about 6 per cent of people who voted SNP in 2016 said they would vote for Alba in May.

Meanwhile, 4 per cent of those who plan to vote SNP next month said they will choose SNP for their constituency vote and Alba on the list.

Mr Salmond only launched Alba last week after a bitter split with the SNP over the handling of a sexual harassment into the former first minister. 

But he has already attracted a wave of defections from his former party. He wants to form a ‘super-majority’ at Holyrood that would begin to seek independence from the UK as soon as possible after the May vote. 

Analysis of the poll projects that if all Alba voters reverted to choosing First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s party, the SNP would have a majority of three MSPs.

However, it predicts a pro-independence majority of 74 MSPs as it projects that 10 Scottish Green MSPs will be elected.

The poll predicts the Scottish Conservatives will lose six seats, returning 25 MSPs, while Scottish Labour is predicted to return 23, one down on 2016.

Scotland operates a version of proportional representation, and Alba is only standing 'list' - or 'additional' MSP - candidates rather than running in the first-past-the-post constituency contests that could have inflicted more serious damage to the nationalists. Pollsters say that means it is more likely to hurt opposition parties, who typically end up with most of the list seats. The chart shows the result from the last Holyrood election in 2016

Scotland operates a version of proportional representation, and Alba is only standing ‘list’ – or ‘additional’ MSP – candidates rather than running in the first-past-the-post constituency contests that could have inflicted more serious damage to the nationalists. Pollsters say that means it is more likely to hurt opposition parties, who typically end up with most of the list seats. The chart shows the result from the last Holyrood election in 2016

The Scottish Liberal Democrats are predicted to gain one seat and return seven MSPs.

The poll also found support for Scottish independence is split.

It found that if an independence referendum were to be held tomorrow, 45 per cent would vote Yes and the same proportion No, with the remainder undecided.

The poll was carried out between April 2 and 7.

It comes after a separate poll on Wednesday predicted that the SNP is forecast to win a majority of seats at the Scottish Parliament election on May 6.

The Ipsos Mori poll for STV found more than half (53 per cent) of the respondents who are registered to vote and are at least 9/10 likely to do so intend to chose an SNP candidate in their constituency next month.

This is a rise of one percentage point from the previous Ipsos Mori poll for STV in February.

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