Scotland’s former first minister Alex Salmond has re-entered frontline politics to become the leader of the new pro-independence Alba Party.
The party was registered with the Electoral Commission in January by retired TV producer Laurie Flynn.
Alba Party will stand candidates in the Scottish Parliament elections on 6 May.
Mr Salmond said in a statement: “Today I’m announcing the public launch of a new political force, the Alba Party.
“Alba will contest the upcoming Scottish elections as a list-only party, seeking to build a super-majority for independence in the Scottish Parliament.
“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’re hoping to elect Alba MSPs from every area of Scotland.”
Mr Salmond added the Alba Party were “making an entirely positive statement and also asking people to come forward and give us support”.
Earlier this week, the 66-year-old revealed he was preparing more legal action over the conduct of the Scottish government’s top civil servant, Leslie Evans.
It follows the publication of a Holyrood inquiry into the Scottish government’s handling of harassment claims against him.
However, a separate investigation by James Hamilton, the independent adviser on ministerial standards, this week found First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had not breached the ministerial code over her handling of the allegations.
Mr Salmond has previously been successful in a legal challenge of the Scottish government’s unlawful investigation into complaints against him, which led to him being awarded more than £500,000.
He was acquitted of all 13 criminal charges brought against him – including sexual assault, indecent assault and attempted rape – in March 2020 following a High Court trial.
Mr Salmond served as Scotland’s first minister between 2007 and 2014, when he stood down following defeat in that year’s independence referendum.
He has previously been an MSP for Banff and Buchan, Gordon, and Aberdeenshire East in his spells in the Scottish Parliament.
And he was also an MP at Westminster in two separate spells.
Mr Salmond was succeeded by Ms Sturgeon, his former deputy, as first minister and SNP leader in 2014.