GIBRALTAR’s referendum on abortion has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The landmark public vote had been set for March 19, but has been called off to ‘protect the elderly’.

A statement just released by the Government said the decision had been agreed upon by the Rock’s main political leaders.

The Deputy and Chief Ministers Fabian Picardo and Joseph Garcia reached the agreement with the GSD’s Keith Azopardi and the Independent MP Marlene Hassan Nahon.

“The concern that has motivated the Government is that the advice to elderly people to stay home and avoid public places may appear to contradict the call to a vote by universal suffrage which could then lead the result of the Referendum, whatever it may turn out to be, to be called into question,” read a Government statement tonight.

Both campaigns have agreed to cease activity until a new date for the referendum has been set by the Gibraltar Parliament.

Picardo added: “I want to thank the Referendum Administrator and his team for the work they have done to date on the organisation of this hugely important Referendum.

“I know that this delay will mean they have to re-do a lot of work they have already undertaken.

“I also want to thank the respective campaigns for their understanding and agreeing to suspend campaigning until we are able to fix a new date.

“I have been in touch this afternoon with all the other party leaders.

“We have agreed this is the best course of action.”

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