Gibraltar’s Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, has dissolved the parliament of the British Overseas Territory and called for a general election on October 17, two weeks before the date set for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.
Picardo, who is running for re-election, told the media on Monday that “Gibraltar will need settled and strong leadership going into Brexit, especially if there is also to be an election in the UK and potentially in Spain thereafter”.
Britain’s Boris Johnson has tried to push for a snap election to resolve the political deadlock over Brexit, and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has called for Spaniards to go to the polls again in October – for the fourth time in four years, after failing to form a government in the wake of June’s elections.
The leader of the coalition formed by the Socialist and Labour Party of Gibraltar (GSLP) and the Liberal Party, which starts as a favourite in the polls, said that now is not the time “for novices or has beens.”
“Now more than ever it is time for the proven, for the successful, for the tried and tested.”
Picardo, along with 96 percent of Gibraltarians voted for the UK to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum. A position that also shares Gibraltar Social Democrats (GSD), the center-right party that leads the opposition.
Picardo, who aspires to a third term in office, will be competing for votes against Keith Azopardi, current leader of the opposition group, the GSD, but who is not a parliamentarian and Marlene Hassan Nahon, who created Together Gibraltar, a new citizens’ movement that has emerged in the Rock to end the traditional bipartisanship of the GSLP and the GSD.