GSLP/Liberals win third term in office in Brexit election
- Marlene Hassan Nahon tops Opposition list as TG dents GSD vote to secure seat in Parliament
The GSLP/Liberal Alliance secured for the first time in its history a third successive electoral victory earlier this morning, and along with it the task of steering Gibraltar safely through Brexit.
The Alliance won ten of the Gibraltar Parliament’s 17 seats with 52.5% of the overall vote on a turnout of 70.84%.
Marlene Hassan Nahon was the most voted Opposition candidate, meaning the opposition benches will again be split as she takes her seat alongside six GSD MPs. The vote was close - 25.6% and 20.5%, respectively - but no other members of her party made the top 17.
However her personal vote was 771 votes ahead of the nearest GSD rival.
The result came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a breakthrough in his attempt to push Brexit through by the looming October 31 deadline.
Mr Johnson announced on Thursday that he had secured a last-minute Brexit deal with the EU, just as European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker categorically refused to extend Article 50 once again. He now has to get the deal through the House of Commons.
This backdrop was not lost on Alliance Leader Fabian Picardo, who said: “Our main role in these coming four years will be to sail this nation of ours safely through the uncharted waters of our departure from the European Union.”
“We will sail our people securely through every potential variation of that process even its potential cancellation.”
“We will do so delivering our post-Brexit national economic plan, we have already turn charged our economy by securing financial service access to the United Kingdom, in this week’s Queen’s Speech we have secured confirmation of Gibraltar as unique in this respect.”
“We have already turbo-charged our economy with the double taxation agreement with the UK, which was also confirmed yesterday by London.”
“These are important developments, important opportunities to do business in and from Gibraltar.”
“We have set the foundations to ensure Gibraltar will reach the safe harbour that we want for our nation with an enduring partnership with the United Kingdom, a partnership well beyond colonialism, a relationship recognised internationally as beyond colonialism.”
This was a strong win for the Alliance, albeit a significant drop on the landslide success of the previous electoral term when the party stormed to a 37-point lead over the GSD in what was then a two-horse race.
But it was significant in that it reinforced the split Opposition element of Parliament, experienced throughout the majority of the previous electoral term.
The result was announced to ear-splitting cheers following a marathon all-night counting session at a packed-out John Mackintosh Hall.
The GSD took six seats with 25.5% of the total vote.
Damon Bossino topped the GSD poll, followed by Daniel Feetham and party Leader Keith Azopardi.
They will be joined in Parliament by Roy Clinton, Elliott Phillips and Edwin Reyes.
The result means Trevor Hammond has lost his seat.
Other GSD candidates who failed to secure a seat include Orlando Yeats, Joelle Ladislaus and Freddie Ballester.
Mr Azopardi was determined in defeat and in a speech following the announcement of the results at the John Mackintosh Hall highlighted how 46% of the electorate had voted for change.
The new Leader of the Opposition said Mr Picardo can expect “constructive and sometimes difficult opposition" from the GSD at this important time in Gibraltar’s history.
“But we will be there working shoulder to shoulder with you as I offered you during the campaign,” he said.
“They were not just words, I meant what I said and if you need our help during a time of crisis during the Brexit period, you will have it if that is what you want.”
“What we ask for is reciprocity and real involvement.”
In its first electoral contest, Together Gibraltar secured 20.5% of the overall vote.
There was no further interspersing into the GSD ranks and Craig Sacarello narrowly missed out on taking a second seat for Together Gibraltar, finishing 18th 35 votes behind the GSD’s Edwin Reyes.
Ms Hassan Nahon, who paid tribute the memory of her late father Sir Joshua Hassan, said the result showed there was a clear mandate for a Together Gibraltar presence in Parliament.
She congratulated the Alliance and wished them a fruitful legislative term “because their success means success for Gibraltar in turbulent times ahead”.
Independent candidates Robert Vasquez and JC Pons took 1,460 votes and 838 votes respectively representing 1.4% of the overall vote.
Mr Picardo was officially announced as the returning incumbent of No.6 Convent Place by Returning Officer Paul Martinez shortly after 7am.