NICOLA Sturgeon has launched the SNP’s campaign by saying a Yes majority is a mandate to push ahead with indyref2.

Speaking as she fired the starting gun on her party’s virtual election campaign, the First Minister said that a majority of pro-independence MSPs returned at next month’s election would be enough to allow the people of Scotland to vote on its future.

She told ITV News: “If there is a majority of people in the Scottish Parliament who want an independence referendum and have been democratically elected there, then yes there is a mandate for a second independence referendum."

Asked if she would work with support from Alex Salmond’s Alba Party, she said: “I’m campaigning for the SNP and that is my prospectus over the campaign.”

Sturgeon added: “I’m not planning to work with Alba, I don’t think they are helping the independence cause right now, I think they could hinder it if we give any sense that people are trying to game the system that can backfire.

WATCH: Nicola Sturgeon launches the SNP's Holyrood election campaign

“It’s not for me to say what MSPs from other parties vote for in a Scottish Parliament, but I am campaigning to get an SNP government re-elected, to have myself re-elected as First Minister, hopefully – although I take nothing for granted given the PR [proportional representation] system we are in – with an SNP majority.”

Due to coronavirus, the First Minister said that she will be hosting 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”.

This includes 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. 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 overriding 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.”

She added: “We are posing this question for the future too: who should decide the kind of country we will be after the pandemic.

READ MORE: ‘Decisions must be taken in Scotland’: FM makes case for independence at BBC debate

“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.