GIBRALTAR will have its general elections on October 17, its Chief Minister announced today.

Fabian Picardo probably caught everyone by surprise as it was generally assumed they would occur in December once the departure from the EU was settled.

“I have called a general election for Thursday 17 October,” said Fabian Picardo after advising the Governor and dissolving Parliament.

“That date also happens to be the day set for the next meeting of the European Council, after which I hope to have some certainty on what Brexit holds.”

Picardo used the platform to launch straight into campaign mode saying Gibraltar needed ‘a government with a strong mandate’.

“Gibraltar will need settled and strong leadership going into Brexit, especially if there is going to be an election in the UK and Spain thereafter,” he said.

According to the CM, he had agreed the date with the Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Garcia before he jetted off to the Liberal Democrat conference in Bournemouth.

Garcia’s hosting of new LibDem leader Jo Swinson later this afternoon is part of the lobbying campaign Picardo vowed to continue even during the election campaign.

The Chief Minister meets the governor to dissolve Parliament

“Gibraltar is ready for any type of Brexit,” said Picardo, noting the extensive experience of his coalition government in London meetings over the last three years.

Together and ready

New progressive liberal party Together Gibraltar were the first to react to Olive Press questions.

“We are ready for the upcoming elections,” Together Gibraltar leader Marlene Nahon Hassan exclusively told The Olive Press.

“We have been gearing up for months and have already chosen our candidates as well as launched our crowd funding initiative.

“Our vision for Gibraltar is different and exciting, producing a programme that prioritises policies for sustainability, anti corruption and civil rights and equality.

“We have an agenda for positive change and we look forward to rolling it out in the coming weeks.”

“I welcome the calling of the election,” Keith Azopardi, leader of the Opposition told The Olive Press.

“For those many people who want change this is a chance to effect that change and choose a new Government.

“The GSD is ready for the job. We have an exciting manifesto and a strong competent team.

“With the hard challenge of Brexit it is a time for experience and we offer that to the people of Gibraltar. We can deliver the future people deserve.”

Get top coverage of the Gibraltar elections in The Olive Press online and our printed edition every two weeks.

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