Politics ‘was always at the back of my mind’, Santos says
GSLP leader Fabian Picardo on Monday dismissed any suggestion that Christian Santos had been appointed mayor to raise his profile before he stepped into frontline politics as an electoral candidate.
This comes after Mr Santos told GBC on their Viewpoint programme that he had expressed an interest in politics in conversation with Mr Picardo prior to being appointed mayor.
In a press conference in the GSLP/Liberals headquarters in Main Street, Mr Santos said he had first become interested in politics some six to eight years ago.
He described how there was a conversation about him becoming more involved, but it was only after his time as mayor that he truly decided to enter the political fray.
“We just had a conversation about me wanting to get more involved in politics and we were just giving advice on things to do,” Mr Santos said.
“And for me, I decided to do it now because the mayor [role] had prepared me for it. With regards to how I view my relationship with the community, how I dealt with them, how I dealt with their concerns and the changes or the positive views that they had, I couldn't really do anything [as mayor].”
“So after that I decided to take some time and then I spoke to Fabian again. I said, listen, I'd like to throw my name in. I think I'm ready now.”
“But this wasn't a plan where I've been groomed into it. I'm 46 years old and we can have all types of conspiracy theories and that's fine.”
“This is a conversation I had years ago. It's not something that popped into my head, ‘I'm bored, I'm not the mayor anymore’. It wasn't like that at all.”
“It was something I've always, always had at the back of my mind and that's why it's been no surprise to anyone who's kind of in my social circle.”
Mr Picardo rejected any suggestion that the appointment was inappropriate and said the GSD had also asked Mr Santos to join their party.
“The fact that somebody may have told me years before I even considered them a potential mayor, that they might one day want to go into politics doesn't, I think, disqualify them from being appointed mayor,” Mr Picardo said.
“So not only do I think it's not inappropriate to have appointed him mayor simply because he one day said that he might want to go into politics, I think it is short sighted and historically devoid of any logic to suggest that, given that mayors of Gibraltar have, until about 15 years ago, been ministers who are appointed to do the job whilst they are ministers and are therefore using the municipal and civic platform to project themselves, even though they're going to be candidates in the following general election.”
Mr Picardo added that Mr Santos has always been a supporter of the GSLP.