Gibraltar residents head to the polls this Thursday, less than two weeks before the October 31 Brexit date. Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo called the election following the Prime Minister’s appointment in June this year. The Minister is hoping the election will offer more stability to the country as it anticipates a no-deal Brexit and forthcoming Spanish elections.
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Why is Gibraltar having an election?
Gibraltar will head to the polls on Thursday, October 17, as thousands of voters decide which party will lead the British territory.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo announced the vote last month, which will decide the 17 members of Gibraltar’s Parliament.
The minister announced elections would decide a new leader for the next four years in a bid for stability.
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Talking to Politico, Mr Picardo revealed he called an election to provide Gibraltar with a new government prepared for a potential no-deal Brexit.
He claimed his Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party (GSLP) is ready for the eventuality, something not reflected in the UK government’s preparation documents.
Mr Picardo said: “We are ready for the morning after if that eventuality were to come to pass.
“Every minute of my day, of the deputy chief’s day, and the day of most officials would be planned from 48 hours before a hard Brexit and to the immediate actions that we would be making in the run-up and in the minutes after a hard Brexit occurs.”Pedro Sanchez has left an opportunity for a right-wing coalition
The election also seeks to create stable protection against a possible right-wing coalition in Spain after elections next month.
Following an unsuccessful bid by Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party (PSOE) head Pedro Sanchez to gain a majority in Parliament during April elections, another round of votes will take place in November.
With a left-wing coalition rejected, there are concerns a centre-right coalition of the People’s Party and far-right Vox is on the cards.
The Spanish nationalist parties may see Brexit as a chance to push for sovereignty over Gibraltar, and Mr Picardo says he hopes new governments would “get on” with one another.
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Speaking to Politico, Picardo said he would work with whichever party won out in Spain’s November elections.
However, he said he has “little to say” to parties with discourse not rooted in 21st century international relations.
He said: “I have very little to say to those whose political discourse reminds me more of what was said in Central Europe in the late 1930s than what we should be saying to each other in the 21st century.
“I do hope that whichever government may be and whatever political conception, they will understand that what is in the interest of both parties in this part of the world is that we should get on with each other.”
Two surveys have predicted Mr Picardo’s GSLP-Liberal Democrat coalition will sweep the majority.
The Gibraltar Chronicle, which posted the first polls last week, has predicted the GSLP-Liberal alliance will net some 63.5 percent of the vote, with the Gibraltar Social Democrats and Together Gibraltar party on 21.7 and 14.1 percent of the vote respectively.
In this scenario, the coalition would gain 10 seats, the GSD six and Together Gibraltar just one.
A second poll, published by the newspaper Panorama, showed the GSLP coalition on 54 percent, the GSD on 28 percent and Together Gibraltar on 17 percent.