THE Governor Sir David Steel swore in GSLP/Liberal Gibraltar government ministers this morning after the tightest election in history.
Re-elected Chief Minister Fabian Picardo led his team through the colonial halls of the Convent for the fourth time in 12 years to sign themselves in under Steel’s watchful eyes.
Picardo grinned broadly as he signed himself in with the equally smiling governor who has accompanied in the trials and tribulations of the last two troublesome years.
For the first time in 12 years, it was not a certainty, with his team having to wait all night to start celebrating.
It became clear very quickly that former tourism and port minister Vijay Daryanani was destined to lose his place in parliament from the start.
And ironically, it was the seat of Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party founder Joe Bossano that was next in doubt during the night.
But as the contest wore on, the 84-year-old pulled away from the bottom section of the pile and took a substantial 300 vote lead from the GSD’s Daniella Tilbury.
The former University of Gibraltar Vice Chair was left out along with Daryanani and Youssef El Hana.
It proved decisive in the end and allowed Picardo to come to the stage after the election organisers officially declared the results.
“I want to thank the people of Gibraltar first of all for having deposited their confidence once again in the GSLP liberal Alliance that I lead,” he said.
“It is quite extraordinary for us to have had the run that we have had to have won four out of four general elections on the job.”
He expressed his delight at being able to ‘retain the confidence of half, at least, of the people of Gibraltar” even after the pandemic, a cost of living crisis, and the international issues facing Gibraltar.
Division on the Rock
For his part, narrowly defeated GSD leader Keith Azopardi called the election ‘a roller coaster’ of a night which everyone spent refreshing their digital election results on their phones.
He congratulated the GSLP/Liberal Alliance and thanked his whole team and family for their support.
“We firmly believed that Gibraltar needed a new way and as I said before those serious issues do remain.
“They don’t magically go away and I hope the new administration reflects on that.”
Independent candidate Robert Vasquez thanked the 3262 people who supported him as he declared this would be his last election.
“One thing that I think has come forward in today’s election is that we are very divided,” Vasquez said.
“I just hope and pray for the sake of Gibraltar that our political classes to unite do unite and achieve a system that will help us all go forward.”
After the signing-in ceremony and photoshoot, the government headed straight to Number Six Convent Place to get to work.