Gibraltar votes on Thursday under new 2006 constitution
On October 11th Gibraltar goes to the polls to elect a new Government. Under the new 2006 constitution there will be an increase in the number of votes per person to ten from the previous eight, with the two major parties, the Gibraltar Social Democrats (GSD) and the Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party (GSLP) with the newer Progressive Democracy Party (PDP) fielding six and two independent candidates on offer.
The GSD, led by Peter Caruana, have been in Government since 1996 and until recently were seen as favorites, however recent polls put them level. Joe Bossano, who had two terms in Government prior to the GSD has tried to reassure voters that he would not raise tensions over the Rock with Spain which despite excellent relations and the negotiated removal of restrictions. He is also promising to pay arrears on pensions that were frozen for over a decade because of a dispute with former Spanish workers. Pensioners now make up some 25% of the Rock's 20.200 voters. Despite the party name, some of his policies in Government, like privatizing telecom carriers, resembled those of Mrs. Thatcher. The GSD issued a 60 page manifesto highlighting their achievements and plans for the future stressing the economic success Gibraltar has enjoyed under their government based on tourism, financial services and more recently Internet gaming. However, it remains illegal to bet on the outcome of Gibraltar elections. After three failures to return to Government, this may be Bossano's last chance, and it looks like Thursday's election will be a close thing. Although voter turnout is usually high, this time the electorate are holding their cards to their chests and many seem reluctant to openly support any party. There are no voting machines and manual counters will toil through the night to produce a result which is anticipated will be announced by 9am Friday. Jim Watt – Gibraltar -www.gibnet.com - gibnews.com