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Bossino will not contest GSD leadership

GSD MP Damon Bossino has ruled himself out of the party’s leadership election.

Mr Bossino had expressed leadership ambitions in the run-up to the last general election and was the most voted GSD MP, fuelling speculation that he might stand against party Leader Keith Azopardi.
Under the party’s constitution, a leadership election must be held within a year after a general election if the party is not in government.

But in a personal statement last night, Mr Bossino announced that he would not offer himself for the leadership of the party.

The deadline for candidates is midday today but Mr Azopardi appears set to stand uncontested, with other MPs including Daniel Feetham and Roy Clinton already ruling themselves out too.

Mr Bossino said the primary reason for his decision was the need to ensure the GSD’s “consolidation and progress” ahead of the next general election.

“This is a common aim of all party members and supporters which I do not believe will be well served by what may be a divisive and undermining process, irrespective of who wins,” he said.

“Whilst I appreciate that my decision will disappoint some of those people who support me in this respect, I believe it will also be accepted as the best course of action at this time for the party.”

Mr Bossino also noted the timing of the deadline for the GSD election, which coincides with the day that Gibraltar and the UK leave the EU.

He said the GSD’s focus must be on robust opposition, not internal politics.

“At such a critical juncture in our history, our priority as a party must be to provide engaged, constructive and probing opposition,” he said.

“This important work may be rendered less effective by the distraction of a leadership election at this time.”

“There is much to be done over the next few years,” he added.

“For the GSD this must include regaining the electorate’s belief and confidence in us as Gibraltar’s next Government.”

“Accordingly, upon that basis, I have thought it best to focus my energy in continuing to work within a united GSD team and to continue to support its leader Keith Azopardi towards achieving this outcome.”