THE postponed abortion referendum will now be held on June 24 in Gibraltar, the Chief Minister revealed today.

The new date was announced exactly a year after the original poll was suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are currently 11 residents and eight visitors who have tested positive for the coronavirus on the Rock and two in hospital.

The Chief Minister will now give notice of the new date of the referendum in Parliament.

He took the decision as the number of active cases and patients in hospital has dropped.

“The Government has taken the view that it is now safe to continue with the Referendum campaign from where it had left off,” said a government spokesperson.

“The situation will be closely monitored between now and polling day in accordance with the public health situation.

“However, the Referendum campaign will remain strictly subject to the public health rules and regulations in force at any given moment, including in particular those on public gatherings.”

These rules could limit the amount of protest marches on the streets before the referendum.

Question of choice

“It is exactly a year since the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was about to hit us and all parties agreed with the decision to delay the referendum to commence our abortion law,” said Picardo.

“As things slowly improve now we are confident we will be able to see people vote safely by late June, with appropriate precautions in place and encouraging postal voting.

“For that reason, I will move the motion in the House to fix a date for the referendum on the 24th June.

“I have agreed this position with all three of the other party leaders in our Parliament.”

Gibraltar has one of the most antiquated abortion laws on the continent, with life in prison being the current punishment.

Many Gibraltarian women go to Spain and UK to get an abortion but want the procedure to carried out locally.

The abortion law being proposed by the government would bring the Rock in line with the UK’s abortion law passed in 1967.

The government also announced that visits to elderly nursing homes and hospital patients will once again be allowed as from next week with strict rules.

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