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‘Let’s end post-election leadership chatter,’ Azopardi says

Johnny Bugeja

The GSD has confirmed that Keith Azopardi will not be challenged for the role of Leader and his position will be ratified by members at the Party’s Annual General Meeting unopposed.

In a statement Mr Azopardi said: “I am grateful for the public and private expressions of continued support that I have received since this process was triggered. I am excited and enthused to carry on with the work we have been doing.”

“There is plenty to do and I am ready to do it with the support of my colleagues.”

“We have had contested elections in this Party before and I would have been happy to submit myself to that contest if other people had come forward but that not being the case it now clears the decks for us to focus on the work we need to do from the Opposition. I am grateful for the support of GSD MPs.” 

He added: “This must now decisively end any post-election chatter and we must concentrate on the job at hand which is the only thing that matters.”

“It is striking that my sharpest public critics have been people who professed their loyalty until such time as they were unsuccessful in their desire to become GSD candidates at the last election and then left the Party. That says more about them than about me.”

“The Party has had wins and defeats before. Our strength lies in our ability to come back from a defeat and build again. Our biggest defeat was under Peter Caruana when we obtained 20% of the vote in 1992 and the margin of loss was 52%.”

“We did not lose heart and Peter Caruana did not resign. The responsible thing for Gibraltar was to continue working hard and we then went on to win the next election. Our last election performance was, of course, disappointing to all of us. But our margin of loss was 27% - a much smaller mountain to climb than in 1992.” 

“Like then the responsible thing is to keep working. The irresponsible thing would be to throw in the towel. That would abandon the many thousands of people who want change and do not support the Government. It would leave a void which would only help the Government further. I am keen that we continue our effective work in Opposition, continue to rebuild, capture the imagination and present the strong alternative to Government that Gibraltar needs.”

“I am not going to be deterred from doing that job. We need to continue focussing on issues of social services, health, employment, the wastage of public monies, the environment and the way Gibraltar is governed. That is in the interests of Gibraltar.”