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Gibraltar General Election 2019 Called: What we know so far

Gibraltar General Election 2019 Called: What we know so far…

The Governor of Gibraltar General Edward Davis today signed a writ dissolving Parliament and convening a general election for Thursday 17th October 2019. In keeping with the Gibraltar constitution, the proclamation was made at the request of the incumbent Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo.

Until the results of the election are declared in the morning of the 18th of October 2019, the Government will exercise its powers and duties in a “caretaker” capacity.

It is thought that Mr. Picardo, who leads a coalition comprising the Gibraltar Socialist and Labour Party (GSLP) and the Liberal Party wants a renewed mandate before the last day of October, which is the day set for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Brexit).

Chief Minister of Gibraltar Fabian Picardo Calls General Election 2019
Chief Minister of Gibraltar Fabian Picardo

The GSLP / Liberal alliance has been in power since 2011, having won two successive elections.

Expected to contest the election are not only the Gibraltar Social Democrats (GSD) who were in power from 1996 – 2011, but also a new party called “Together Gibraltar”.

There are unconfirmed reports that one or two of the current ministers will be retiring, and so new faces are expected to make an appearance.

Dr. Joseph Garcia, who leads the Liberal Party partner in the coalition and has been Deputy Chief Minister since 2011, is expected to stand again as is the 80-year-old Father of Parliament Sir. Joe Bossano, who was first elected in 1972 and founded the GSLP in 1977.

Dr Joseph Garcia and Sir Joe Bossano
Dr Joseph Garcia and Sir Joe Bossano

In recent years the leadership of the GSD in opposition has alternated following the retirement of long-term Chief Minister, Sir. Peter Caruana, who was initially replaced by Daniel Feetham.

The current GSD leader in Parliament is lawyer Elliott Phillips, but it is expected that Keith Azzopardi will be making a return to active politics and hopes to lead the party at next month’s plebiscite.

Keith Azzopardi and Elliott Phillips
Keith Azzopardi and Elliott Phillips

The newcomer “Together Gibraltar” is led by journalist and historian Marlene Hassan Nahon, who is one of the daughters of the late Sir. Joshua Hassan, who was Chief Minister from the 1950’s – 1987 (with a short break between 1969 and 1973 when the late Major Bob Peliza was Chief Minister.

Together Gibraltar presents itself as an innovative party with a wide and growing set of policies based on principles of equality and inclusivity.

Marlene Hassan Nahon
Marlene Hassan Nahon Photo: GBC

The GSLP / Liberals are considered to be centre-left, but the present of committed socialists such as Daniel Feetham in the GSD perhaps no longer qualifies that party as being centre-right.

Ideologically therefore, all parties appear to be in the same narrow political spectrum, just left of the centre, but the issues facing Gibraltar on this occasion are bound to be international (Brexit and relations with the UK and Spain) and the economy.

Candidates for the position of Chief Minister therefore must show the People of Gibraltar that as they sail into uncertain waters, they have a strong Captain to run the ship of state.

Gibraltar General Election 2019 Called: What we know so far…

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