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Picardo urges voters to see past third-term ‘burnout’ and pick ‘strongest team’

Photo by Johnny Bugeja.

GSLP leader Fabian Picardo this week acknowledged that many voters were ‘disappointed’ with his government after three terms in office but urged them to carefully weigh up the strengths of each election slate and “choose the best team”.

Sitting alongside Liberal leader Dr Joseph Garcia, he recognised anti-government sentiment but insisted that the Alliance offered “the strongest” slate.

The afternoon press conference held on Tuesday saw Mr Picardo and Dr Garcia highlight their lobbying efforts in the UK and EU, and the ongoing negotiations for a UK/EU on Gibraltar with the bloc.

The pair also spoke of their work in the United Nations to see Gibraltar removed from the UN list of self-governing territories, and Dr Garcia described his recent work in the Conversative Party Conference in the UK.

Mr Picardo stressed he has the contacts and has done the groundwork to see the treaty through and asked Gibraltarians to vote for the alliance despite the gripes the electorate may have.

“Going through a general election campaign is a seminal experience for anyone,” Mr Picardo said.

“It taxes your body as much as it taxes your mind. You have to be really committed to Gibraltar to want to become a Member of Parliament.”

“But there's a reality here. There's an underlying reality the GSLP that are not running against the GSD, we're running against ourselves.”

“The reality is that when you look at the candidature of the GSD, and you look at the candidature of the GSLP, anybody who's making an objective assessment can see that by far strongest ten are the GSLP candidates.”

“When you try and match up each candidate against the ministry, if you do it dispassionately, even if you're a member of the GSD executive, you know that the GSLP/Liberal candidate scores more highly as a potential minister the morning after election in a particular ministry than the GSD candidate.”

Mr Picardo said he felt the GSLP/Liberals have a stronger programme but recognised past disappointment the electorate could have had with them in government.

“We hear that there is disappointment, there is ‘desgaste’, as we say in Spanish, that people just feel that the government has let them down because of an issue related to an allowance, or they may have not had an opportunity to meet with me, with Joseph or another minister because we've been too busy.”

“We haven't been able to do this, we haven't been able to do that because of the curtailment of the time that we've had available because of Covid.”

“So I think it's very clear that this is not a competition between two teams for government. There is only one team for government.”

Mr Picardo questioned whether there is a groundswell of opinion that could displace the GSLP/Liberals out of government, in what he called the electorate wanting to punish the alliance.

He hit out at the GSD’s performance in the televised debates, calling them the “wrong government for Gibraltar”.

“Because I love this place and I think most people love this place as much as I do, I'm confident that in the end people will make the right decision.”

“They will choose a team that they realise is best for their family and for their country at this seminal moment in our history and that they will therefore choose the GSLP/Liberal program and the GSLP/Liberal candidates, even if we might have let them down over the past four years.”

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