Elections took place in Gibraltar last week and resulted in a new party being elected, for the first time in 15 years.
30 candidates were put forward for the 17 seats in the Gibraltar Parliament – 10 candidates each from the Gibraltar Social Democrats (GSD), Progressive Democrative Party (PDP) and an alliance Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party (GSLP)/Liberals.
The GSLP, under the lead of Fabian Picardo, secured a narrow victory taking 48.8% of the votes against the GSD’s 46.76%, bringing an end to the 15 year reign of Social Democrat leader Peter Caruana.
Spain’s newly elected PP party has congratulated Gibraltar on the result and said they are hopeful that the new leader will move Gibraltar towards a “permanent dialogue” between the neighbouring countries.
Liberal Democrats in the UK also sent their congratulations to Picardo’s party stating that December 8 was an historic day for Liberals in Gibraltar.
Gibraltar’s sovereignty is likely to be a major point of discussion for the new leader with the Spanish conservatives looking for a return to the 1984 Brussels Process, a negotiation between Spain and Britain in which Gibraltar had a voice, but no vote. However, Picardo insists that Gibraltar’s sovereignty is “not up for negotiation”.
He also promised to put aside party politics and focus on the things that are in the best interests of the country.
Relations have been strained between the two countries over recent years and has seen protests and the possibility of the Spanish border town of La Linea charging a “toll” for tourists heading for Gibraltar as they have to go through La Linea to get there. The mayor says the “through traffic” is not good for La Linea as the town hall is almost broke and many thousands of tourists pass through the town but few stop to spend money.