Nicola Sturgeon has launched the SNP’s election campaign.
The First Minister said she will host virtual town halls to address the people of Scotland and share her vision for the country’s future.
The party will also take to social media to introduce their team of constituency candidates, which Sturgeon has said is the “most diverse list of regional candidates ever”, including members who are from ethnic minority communities and those with disabilities who have traditionally been under-represented in Scottish politics.
Sturgeon said: “These are, of course, not normal times – but they are the most serious of times. And that calls for experienced leadership and serious government.
“That is what people across Scotland expect and deserve – and that is what I will deliver as First Minister if you re-elect me.
“Over the last year I have dedicated the SNP government to one over-riding task – tackling the pandemic to keep Scotland safe. And I have done my best every day to steer us through.
“That will continue to be my number one priority.”
The First Minister also added that a second independence referendum should be “Scotland’s choice”, saying, “we are posing this question for the future too: who should decide the kind of country we will be after the pandemic – should it be the people of Scotland or politicians like Boris Johnson?”
Sturgeon laid out her government’s plans for the next five years, saying she would focus on strong leadership and serious government to lead Scotland through the pandemic.
The NHS would also be transformed with a new policy to kick-start its recovery, which would include a new National Care Service, as well as a cancer recovery plan.
Jobs and the economy as well as the housing crisis would be a big focus of her government, should the party be re-elected.
Sturgeon said: “Over the coming weeks the SNP will continue to set out our policy platform.
“These measures will offer practical help but they also tell a story of the kind of Scotland we can be.
“A country of compassion and solidarity where we look out for one another and offer a helping hand.”
The First Minister also reiterated her intention to bring a second independence referendum to the Scottish people, saying: “When the crisis is over – after Covid – we will give you the right to decide whether to become an independent country and take our future into our own hands.
“Independence will equip the Scottish Government and people with the powers we need for a long term recovery made in Scotland.
“It will mean Scotland’s future will be in Scotland’s hands.”