Independent Robert Vasquez is first to sign up and issue manifesto
Independent Robert Vasquez on Tuesday became the first candidate to formally sign up in the Gibraltar Parliament for the October 12 general election.
Eight electors committed their support to him, each signing the forms in Parliament which formalised the process.
This means that Mr Vasquez, a barrister and political commentator, will run as an independent candidate on October 12, vying for a seat in Parliament in contest with candidates from the GSLP/Liberals and the GSD.
The deadline for the registration of candidates is noon on September 21.
Mr Vasquez last stood as an independent during the 2019 election, after the GSD opted not to include him in its slate. He had previously run with the GSD in the 2015 election but did not win a seat.
On Tuesday, he said a GBC poll that indicated 60% of voters would consider supporting an independent candidate had boosted his hopes of winning a seat in Parliament to drive policies centred on democratic reform and financial prudence.
“I am very, very happy that I'm standing again at a time where one party has dropped out and there's been so many changes in the other two parties, the GSD and the GSLP Liberals,” Mr Vasquez told reporters.
“Which I think improves my chances, as indeed has been shown by the GBC poll, which indicated quite clearly that people are a little bit fed up with party politics in Gibraltar, giving the two parties just over 20% of the vote, and 60% of those who were polled saying that they would like to vote for an independent.”
“Well, I hope to see that come true and I hope to see that they will vote for me.”
Mr Vasquez said the two-party system had “developed because of the voting system” and expressed a desire to change the voting system to one of proportional representation “that would give voters a bigger choice”.
On arrival outside Parliament, Mr Vasquez was quick to hand out his manifesto, titled “Vote Vasquez Get Facts – Fairness, Accountability, Community, Transparency, Stability”.
His is the first formal manifesto made available during this year’s election campaign, with the GSLP/Liberals and the GSD yet to publish theirs.
“There's lots of things in it, but the primary message that I'm trying to get across is on the front cover, and it's fairness, accountability, community, transparency and stability,” Mr Vasquez said.
“I don't think our system is fair today in the manner that people are elected.”
“I don't think that we have an accountable government because they have an established majority and the opposition hardly get a look in to ensure accountability.”
“I think the community is often forgotten by those who have already been elected.”
“And I do know that transparency is an issue that a lot of people don't know anything about, for example, the public finances.”
“There's lots hidden in companies now.”
“It's time that that was made public because it's our money.”
“It is not the money of the ministers or the Chief Minister, it is the money of each individual voter in Gibraltar, and they deserve transparency.”
“And I think stability is something that we need in order that our economy can improve and function, and a lack of good public finances undermines stability.”