Bossino laments ‘vicious and tribal’ election campaign
GSD candidate Damon Bossino yesterday expressed his “inherent disappointment” in the way the election campaign is unfolding, voicing concern about the damaging impact of “vicious and tribal” politics.
Speaking to reporters, he said he was worried that voters will no longer engage and will instead “reject” what is happening in politics.
The comments come after the GSD candidates and GSLP/Liberal Alliance clashed over Ms Tilbury and GSD candidate Youssef El Hana over the past few days.
Neither Mr Bossino or Mr Tilbury commented on the Alliance’s statement on Wednesday raising questions about Mr El Hana’s eligibility to stand in the election, adding this would be for GSD leader, Keith Azopardi, to respond to.
Mr Azopardi has not yet made any statement on the issue.
But Mr Bossino said: “We are seeing an aspect of electioneering in Gibraltar which I think is unprecedented, quite frankly, in terms of the targeting of individual candidates and having absolutely no compunction from an official part.”
Mr Bossino said winning or losing elections should be based on the issues that impact on people.
“It's become something else,” Mr Bossino said.
“After this election, which is going to be over the next two weeks, and I don't think I'm exaggerating, we are going to have after this severely competitive process where we're hearing of outside influences are, certainly on the other side in terms of the running of that campaign, that we will need a process of healing as a people.”
“That saddens me because we both have friends on the other side and long may that remain.”
“So at the end of the day, this is a very small place and we all ought to at least have an idea of where we want to go forward and let's have a debate on the ideas, let's have our ideas rejected as silly or ridiculous, and not what people find, but let's not get personal.”
“And I think that we will have to go through a process of healing not just within the political class, but more importantly the people out there who are seeing all this played out before us.”
Mr Bossino said that while people are engaged, the question remains “whether that translates into high participation in the numbers of votes”.
“I'm not so sure, because part of the engagement and this is what I think would concern us, those who are standing for election, may result not in apathy, but something which is a lot worse, which is a rejection of what's happening politics.”
“And that rejection, which is something that should sadden every democrat irrespective of the result, is that there is a low turnout in a couple of weeks’ time.”
“So if I can take this opportunity, my call out to people out there would be, whatever your view is, once you've analysed everything, once you've analysed the issues, once you've reached a determination, a gut feeling view of what you're seeing, exercise that right to vote.” “And I would hasten to add, make sure it's not a blank vote, because those are just rejected but not even counted...”
“But my recommendation, whether it's one to ten votes, you can exercise up to ten votes.”
“I mean, as you can exercise, you can put one cross on the ballot paper or up to ten, exercise it.”
“But vote with your feet and vote with your conscience, and vote with the options that you think would be best for Gibraltar.”