07:14 GMT19 April 2021
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    Voting choices in this year's Scottish parliament elections have become much more complicated with the arrival of two new parties: Former SNP leader Alex Salmond's pro-independence Alba party and George Galloway's Alliance 4 Unity, both standing only on the top-up proportional list ballot.

    Broadcaster George Galloway has slammed the Scottish National Party's "fumblings, fingering and fornicating" a month before elections to the devolved parliament.

    Galloway, a former Labour and Respect Party MP who is standing as a candidate for the Alliance 4 Unity, was responding to a tweet unfavourably comparing First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s fitness to hold office to that of her predecessor Alex Salmond — now leader of the pro-independence Alba Party.

    The devout Catholic chose Good Friday to remind followers of the SNP's long list of sex scandals.

    ​On Thursday, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said Salmond was "unfit for public office" in a side-swipe at SNP leader Sturgeon.

    "He can direct people to look at what courts have determined, that what juries have determined — but people can also look at what he has himself accepted was behaviour that was inappropriate and he let down those who worked closely with him," Ross said.

    Salmond, a former SNP leader and First Minister was cleared in 2020 of 13 charges of sexual misconduct against staff members — including one of rape. SNP officials have been accused of "fishing" for allegations against him among staff while Sturgeon wasted more than £500,000 contesting Salmond's successful legal bid to halt an internal inquiry that a judge called "tainted by apparent bias".

    “Nicola Sturgeon has told us time and time again, he was her mentor, and her friend for more than three decades, and now it seems that has all changed and she doesn't trust him. She says he was always economical with the truth," Ross added.

    Like Alliance 4 Unity, Salmond's Alba party is only standing candidates for the regional top-up lists in the complicated D'Hondt system of elections, with some MSPs elected directly by constituencies and others in a form of proportional representation. Salmond claims that tactic will result in a pro-independence "super-majority" between the two parties, if all SNP voters also vote Alba on the top-up list.

    “The threat is both of them — that they have focused politics yet again on another politics referendum, so the SNP get a clear majority,” Ross warned.

    Alliance 4 Unity is calling on the Scottish Tories, Labour and Liberal Democrats to unite in a pro-UK "tactical voting" alliance, urging the other parties' supporters to give it their list votes.


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    Scottish Parliament, Scottish independence, Scottish National Party, Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP), Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon
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