THE GSLP/Liberal coalition has won its fourth term in a row with just nine MPs in one of the tightest elections in Gibraltar’s history.
Re-elected Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and Liberal leader Joseph Garcia hugged their cheering supporters as they greeted the result with total glee.
They entered the John Mackintosh Hall to roars of approval and chants of ‘Four More Years!’.
The chanting had started as GSLP co-founder Sir Joe Bossano entered the building to embraces as civil servants counted the last few votes.
Ultimately, it was the 84-year-old’s seat that clinched the win, mainly because much less people voted for him and there were moments during the night when his place in parliament seemed to be in peril.
But after 51 years in parliament, 20 in government, the essential votes he needed came through and with that another four to add to his incredible tally.
In the end, the hard-fought election saw the Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party in its coalition with the Liberal party defeat the odds to take the win.
They did so with 49.9% of the votes, while the GSD managed to clinch 48% and independent candidate Robert Vasquez got the remaining 1.8%.
That equated to 84,961 votes for the GSLP/Liberals to 81,945 for the GSD, with Vasquez taking 3,262 votes. There were 472 rejected ballot papers.
It followed a GBC exit poll and two pre-election predictions that forecast a slim win for the Gibraltar Social Democrats.
But the GSLP/Liberals led from the start, only occasionally looking like they would lose their control of No.6 Convent Place.
Only the loss of Vijay Daryanani cast a shadow over the victory, as more people than usual moved away from the bloc vote.
It means that the coalition will have to be in office with just one more MP than the Opposition, the first time this has happened since before the 1969 constitution.
It would also mean that the death or retirement of one of the GSLP or Liberal ministers could see a shocking change of government with a by-election.
But for now, Picardo will be relishing the challenge of four more years as Chief Minister, which he says will be his last.
“We enjoy the confidence of the majority of the people of Gibraltar and it’s a huge privilege to go back to work tomorrow at Six Convent Place,” he told GBC at the end of a lengthy interview.
And he delivered a challenge to Spain’s President Pedro Sanchez to form a government and seal the deal on the EU treaty.