Alexander (Alex) Salmond

1954 -

Alex Salmond MSP
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Alex Salmond MSP

Politician and First Minister of Scotland. Born in Linlithgow, Salmond studied at St. Andrews University where he became involved in nationalist politics. He was employed as an economist with the Royal Bank of Scotland, before being elected Member of Parliament for Banff and Buchan (1987). He was elected to the Scottish Parliament for the same constituency in 1999.

Salmond became National Convenor and Leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) in 1990, promoting their policy of 'independence in Europe'. Hopes of an electoral break-through in the 1992 General Election did not come to fruition, although they did increase their seats from four to six in the 1997 election.

Salmond shocked many by his resignation in 2000, having built the SNP to be the main opposition party in the Scottish Parliament. He resigned his Scottish Parliament seat in 2001 to concentrate his efforts in Westminster. However, in an equal surprise, Salmond put his name forward for the leadership once again in 2004 and won the overwhelming support of his party despite not being a member of the Scottish Parliament. He was successfully returned as MSP for Gordon in 2007 and, with his party gaining power for the first time, Salmond became leader of a minority administration and First Minister of Scotland. Somewhat to the surprise of many, but after a masterful campaign, the SNP administration was re-elected with an overall majority in 2011, giving Salmond the mandate to implement various nationalist policies including a referendum on Scottish independence. With Scotland voting 'no' to independence in 2014, Salmond stood down as First Minister.

When not in Edinburgh, Salmond lives with his wife in a converted mill in Strichen (Aberdeenshire). While loved and hated by Scots in equal measure, all agree Salmond is a consummate politician.

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