Governor Sir Francis Richards yesterday signed the Warrant appointing Peter Richard Caruana QC as Chief Minister of Gibraltar.
The ceremony for the swearing-in of the Chief Minister, the Council of Ministers and other members of the Gibraltar Council is expected to take place at 5pm on Monday December First.
European elections returning officer Paul Morris, attending the General Elections throughout Thursday night and Friday morning, praised the people of Gibraltar for their "commitment to democracy".
"I think it is first class. The way this election has been organised has been absolutely brilliant. In the areas we deal with the turnouts tend to be 20-25% so to see a turnout of nearly 80% is quite incredible. Plus also you go to the polling stations and people are queuing to vote, which I think is incredible. The people here are committed to democracy they seem enthusiastic and very supportive of it."
However in Madrid Spanish Minister for Europe Ramon de Miguel responded to comments of his British counterpart Denis MacShane and contested his view that "Gibraltar is for the UK what Ceuta and Melilla are for Spain".
Mr. de Miguel pointed out that Ceuta and Melilla are territories integrated into the Kingdom of Spain and members of the European Union under the Spanish flag, whilst Gibraltar is ?not part of the United Kingdom' and therefore not a member of the European Union in the same way the two Spanish enclaves are. Mr de Miguel added that Gibraltar is on the UN list of territories to be decolonised, whilst Ceuta and Melilla are not.
Furthermore, said the Spanish Minister, Gibraltar was Spanish territory before 1713, and its isthmus was not ceded to Britain as part of the Treaty of Utrecht. Ceuta and Melilla, he says, have actual and original Spanish populations whilst Gibraltar has a population of people which mostly have no British, English, Scottish or Welsh blood.
Meanwhile, Dr MacShane has responded to a question put to him in the House of Commons by Andrew Rosindell on the Gibraltar issue. Mr Rosindell asked Dr MacShane what discussions Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has had with his Spanish counterpart Ana Palacio regarding Gibraltar in the last 12 months.
Dr MacShane answered that the Foreign Secretaries had met on a number of occasions over the last twelve months to discuss a number of issues, but Gibraltar has "not been the focus".