ALEX Salmond is misleading voters, Nicola Sturgeon has suggested, and his decision to front the new Alba Party is not a "friendly gesture" towards the SNP.

The First Minister accused her predecessor of trying to "gamble with" or "game" the electoral system in Scotland

She said she is concentrating on winning a "simple majority" for the SNP. 

Ms Sturgeon made the comments in an interview with the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme ahead of the Holyrood election on May 6.

It came as Alba confirmed it has met its target of standing four candidates in every regional list across Scotland.

Mr Salmond's party will not contest constituencies, but will field candidates in each of the eight regional lists, where MSPs can be elected with just six per cent of the vote.

It hopes to build a "supermajority for independence" by picking up pro-Yes votes on the list. 

But Ms Sturgeon dismissed the plan.

She said: "You only have to cast your mind back to the days when Alex Salmond was leader of the SNP and he didn't say what he is saying now. 

"What he said then – and he was right then – is that the only way to make sure you get the government you want is to vote for the party that will be that government.

"Anything else is trying to gamble with the system, game the system, take a chance on the outcome of the election. 

"And if you want to see an SNP Government elected that then has the ability to deliver an independence referendum, then you don't get that by voting for somebody else – you only get that by voting SNP. 

"There are two things that are required to win independence – firstly a majority, a simply majority in the Scottish Parliament that can bring about an independence referendum. 

"And then crucially, the most important thing of all is that we win a majority among the Scottish population for independence. 

"And anybody who tries to suggest that there's a shortcut to that, or that we can somehow game or trick our way to independence frankly is misleading people. 

"It's got to be through a process that is not just legitimate, but seen to be legitimate so that it can command respect and authority at home and internationally as well."

Ms Sturgeon added: "I think he is seeking to ask people to gamble on the outcome of this election. I don't think that is the right thing to do."

She said: "I don't think this is a friendly gesture on Mr Salmond's part towards the SNP."

Asked about her comments that Mr Salmond is a "gambler", she said: “Everybody knew Alex Salmond was a gambler because he has never made any secret of it. He backs the horses on an almost daily basis.” 

Ms Sturgeon said she did not think the SNP is divided, and support for independence has never been higher.