VOTING has opened as Alex Salmond’s Alba members elect the inaugural national office bearers of the new independence supporting party.

The high-profile contest is for the role of depute leader with former justice secretary Kenny MacAskill MP going head-to-head against Glasgow City councillor Michelle Ferns. The winner will be announced at Alba’s conference on the afternoon of Saturday, September 11.

As the only nominee for leader, Salmond will be duly elected at the conference and is expected to give a major speech on Scottish independence at the conference.

The party last month announced it has 6000 members and all are entitled to vote in the national office bearer elections.

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Other posts up for election are local government convener, with Aberdeenshire councillors Leigh Wilson and Brian Topping in the running alongside former SNP MSP Mike MacKenzie, former SNP MP Corri Wilson is bidding to be elected as the party’s membership support convener, and the party will also elect other key internal position.

Voting opened on Friday night and closes on Friday, September 10,

The in-person conference is due to be held on September 11 and 12 in Greenock Town Hall.

The National:

Among the debates will be one on whether an independent Scotland should ditch the monarchy once Queen Elizabeth’s reign ends and instead have an elected head of state or president like the Republic of Ireland.

Another motion proposes that Scotland could get rid of Trident on “day one” of independence.

The party is expected to back the policy in a “clear commitment to the removal of weapons of mass destruction from the Clyde”.

Alba also want a windfarm built at the site of the current warhead depot.

Salmond is expected to give the closing speech.