Alex Salmond’s decision to contest the Scottish Parliamentary elections makes a supermajority for Scottish Independence almost certain. His decision has been criticised on the basis that the Alba party will split the pro-independence vote. This is not the case and shows a misunderstanding of the Scottish Electoral system In fact it will not affect the SNP vote at all as Alba are not contesting the constituency seats.
The SNP won 59 of the 73 constituencies in 2016 and the opinion polls predict they will repeat this or do even better in May.
Alba are only contesting the regional lists which are designed as a sort of “top up” to get a more balanced parliament. In 2016 the SNP having done so well in the constituencies only gained 4 of the 56 regional seats and wasted nearly one million votes which elected no one.
If say one third of these SNP voters now give their regional vote to Alba, they would win 12 plus seats and the give the pro Independence MSPs a majority of 20. A real problem for Boris.
Alba support will depend on whether the SNP voters desire for independence exceeds their dislike of Salmond. However before Alba it was likely that SNP would get a majority after Alba a majority for Independence is almost certain.
A more detailed analysis of regional allocations will follow.