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GSD vows to work with Govt on abortion referendum question

Eyleen Gomez

The GSD has said it will work constructively with the Government on the wording of the question set to be put to the community in the referendum on legalising abortion.

It is important that the question be neutral and fairly framed, the Leader of the Opposition Keith Azopardi said as part of a statement in which he welcomed the GSD being consulted on the possible question to be put to the community.

But, simultaneously, the GSD criticised Chief Minister Fabian Picardo for having used the announcement of the date for the referendum to make “cheap, unfair and politically dishonest digs” at the party.

“If the Chief Minister wishes to conduct a mature style of consultative politics with the new Leader of the Opposition he should not trip himself up at the first hurdle.”

Mr Azopardi said: “It is important that the debate on this issue should be measured and honest especially as the issue raises high emotions. The GSD’s position on the law that was passed by Government majority is well-known. The policy we presented at the election was perfectly achievable.”

“We regret the Chief Minister’s continued politically dishonest presentation of what the law he promoted in July 2019 does or needs to do.”

“Having said that we accept that we are not in Government and we will constructively engage with Mr Picardo on the wording of the Motion. It is important that the question be neutral and fairly framed. It will be for the people of Gibraltar to now decide whether this law should be commenced.”

On the issue of extending the franchise to 16-year olds, the GSD said there is a case for the right to vote to be lowered to 16 generally and not just for this referendum.

It added that this is an issue that is worth considering across the board.

“As an issue of electoral reform it would be important to consider that carefully and not rush into things. There should be public consultation on that question. That has been the long-standing position of the Party as far back as 2014.”