The Gibraltar Social Democrats will form the Government for the next four years after winning the election with a 51% majority. The GSLP/Liberal Party will form the opposition after 40% of the electorate voted for them. Labour achieved 8% of the votes and the Reform party 1%.
Obtaining 51% of the vote the social-democrats captured the eight top slots in the poll above Joe Bossano's party that took the seven Opposition seats with 40% of the vote. The third party in contention, the Labour Party were resoundingly defeated obtaining only 8% of the vote and all its members except for the leader Daniel Feetham losing their deposits as did Reform leader Lyana Armstrong Emery.
Speaking just minutes after the result was declared, Mr Caruana thanked the people of Gibraltar for their support and highlighted how the electorate had placed their "faith and trust" in the GSD for a third successive time in Government but also acknowledged the "wake-up call" by the electorate for "our shortcomings" in the areas of housing and health.
He said: "The people of Gibraltar have recognised that the GSD Government has done a good job of looking after Gibraltar's external affairs, but we also know that we have received a small electoral reprimand and wake up call which I fully accept in relation to some of our shortcomings and delays in housing and in eliminating some of the longstanding difficulties in the health service and I personally pledge to do both during the next four years. The GSD is the first political party that has won three elections in Gibraltar with more than 50% of the electoral vote and we are the first political party that has won three elections in Gibraltar with all eight of its candidates topping the first eight positions in the poll."
Mr Caruana also thanked "the army of political party activists" across the parties who could fight elections "in a spirit of friendship despite their political differences." He also thanked the people of Gibraltar referring to the "large number of inducements" that had been placed before them to vote for other candidates but notwithstanding that, he continued, "the majority of them had chosen to be governed by a GSD Government albeit that there is less for them personally."
The re-elected Chief Minister also thanked the outgoing members of the House of Assembly Messrs Azopardi and Corby on his side, and Messrs Valarino, Perez and Baldachino on the Opposition benches for their parliamentary comradeship, noting that "one or two of them I will miss for their political banter, the ones on the other side not the ones on my side" he remarked to laughter. He also welcomed the newly elected members and said he looked forward to a parliamentary relationship with them too. Mr Caruana said there was much to do in Gibraltar over the next four years domestically and externally stating that in exchange for the trust and confidence placed by the people of Gibraltar in the GSD pledged to continue to work "tirelessly and to the best of our ability to continue to build the sort of Gibraltar we want for ourselves and wish to bequeath to our children and our grandchildren."
THE PEOPLE OF GIBRALTAR "COME OF AGE"
For his part the Leader of the Opposition Joe Bossano said he looked forward to pursuing the draft constitutional proposals which he said would be "a gigantic step" for Gibraltar by removing the Rock from the UN list of colonies.
Mr Bossano said: "On behalf of the GSLP/Lib party I add my own words of congratulation to everyone who has been officially involved in making once again a success of our system which is quite an old parliamentary democracy nowadays by the standards of the rest of Europe."
"In Opposition we have a role to play in the future four years of Gibraltar before we test again who should govern Gibraltar and we will pursue our own programme. But there is an area where happily, in my judgment, there is a consensus between the two sides of the house and that is in the draft constitutional proposals and on that score where there is political unanimity, we look forward to working with the Government to pursue those proposals and see how far we can take them and then bring back to the Gibraltar voter and agree a formula with the UK which will enable us to take what for us would be a gigantic step by removing Gibraltar from the UN list of colonies. Then maybe in the next election once a referendum has been held and the new constitution adopted it will be run under the new constitution which will mean the people of Gibraltar come of age. We look forward to that."
"As regards the message to our electorate, and just like the government has been elected to serve all the people of Gibraltar not just those who voted for them, so have we been elected to serve all those who did not vote for us as well as the 40 % that did and therefore that is the essence of our system and our political commitment to it." Meanwhile Labour Party Leader Daniel Feetham recognised defeat but said he was "unbowed" adding that the Labour Party would come back stronger and eventually be successful. For her part Lyana Armstrong Emery of the Reform Party said they were not disappointed but "here to stay."
All the leaders thanked the returning officer and the staff involved in the counting of votes and other services during the elections, and the RGP.
Total Votes: Government:
Government:Peter Caruana - 7998 Joe Holliday - 7398 Bernard Linares - 7301 Ernest Britto - 7275 Jaime Netto - 7117 Fabian Vinet - 7105 Clive Beltran - 7037 Yvette del Agua - 7003
Opposition: Joe Bossano - 6220 Joseph Garcia - 5798 Fabian Picardo - 5785 Charles Bruzon - 5584 Steven Linares - 5554 Mari Montegriffo - 5465 Lucio Randall - 5328
Source: The Gibraltar Chronicle