6 Oct, 2023 @ 08:57
2 mins read

New candidates stand up to reckoning as poll predicts knife-edge Gibraltar election results

THE main parties contesting the 2023 election have now released their manifestos and less than a week before the election takes place latest polls show it will be a tough battle.

A poll run by local broadcaster GBC and the Gibraltar Chronicle suggested the GSD could win the October 12 election by the very fine margin of 0.4%.

The bitter political rivals for the last 30 years now have one more week of campaigning before the election day on Thursday.

On the one hand, the GSLP/Liberal coalition has the slogan ‘Keep Gibraltar Safe’ while the GSD went for ‘Make the change for a Bright Future’.

While the GSLP/Liberals are allied to the UK Labour and Liberal Democrat parties, the GSD has been allied to Conservatives since 2004.

They have rung the changes in their respective slates, with the GSLP/Liberals bringing in five new faces and the GSD bringing in six of their own.

Here is a brief summary of the new candidates in their respective party groups.

GSLP/Liberals:

Christian Santos: Created the successful Gibraltar Academy of Music and the Performing Arts. Mayor of Gibraltar from 2021 to 2023. Likely portfolio: Health and care

Gemma Arias-Vasquez: Former president of the Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses (GFSB). Led the successful Remain campaign locally. Lawyer. Likely Portfolio: Equality and Youth, Culture

Nigel Feetham: Top insurance and financial services lawyer. Advised the government at no expense to the taxpayer. Likely Portfolio: Financial Services, Training and Employment

Patricia Orfila: Former teacher and GSLP executive member for over a decade. Likely Portfolio: Housing, Development and Planning.

Leslie Bruzon: Medical technician at the ambulance service. Former Unite convenor. Previous accountant. Likely Portfolio: Traffic and Transport.

GSD:

Craig Sacarello: Family business owner with marketing experience. Former Vice Chairman of GFSB. Together Gibraltar candidate at last election. Likely Portfolio: Tourism, Business, Port

Joelle Ladilsaus: Lawyer. “I will continue to embrace values I hold dear in all my relationships: integrity, trust and sincerity,” she said. Likely Portfolio: Health and Care

Youssef El Hana: Studied Biomedical Science with Masters in Cancer Biology and MSc International Relations. Former Student Union activist. Qualified Teacher. Likely Portfolio: Housing, Care, Social Security

Atrish Sanchez: Senior Compliance officer. Masters degree in Criminology. Social policy advocate. Likely Portfolio: Education, Skills and Training

Daniella Tilbury: Academic. Former Vice Chancellor of Gibraltar University. Social policy advocate with the UN and EU. Worked internationally at various universities. Likely Portfolio: Environment, Development and Planning

Giovanni Origo: Lawyer. Interest in new technology. Advocates fairness and protecting individual rights. Likely Portfolio: Climate Change, Transport.

The election could be the tightest yet pitting the socialist, progressive policies of Joe Bossano with the more conservative, money-saving austerity of Keith Azopardi.

It remains to be seen which party would take the win, with both sides trying to engage the electorate over the next few days.

With the GSLP/Liberals having been in office for 12 years, people could be tiring of their outlook while others are relying on their experience to take them past the last hurdles of the EU treaty negotiation.

For the GSD, it could be fourth time lucky, but with a relatively inexperienced ministerial team, they would have to learn fast once if they are voted into government.

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