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Keith Azopardi

Exclusion of Keith Azopardi from the leaders debate

Keith Azopardi 22%

In their statement last night GBC state that they intend to maintain their decision to exclude Keith Azopardi from the Leaders Debate on television and the Leaders Interviews on radio because the PDP cannot form Government as stated in the constitution. Not only are GBC deciding something that only the people of Gibraltar can decide but they are legally wrong.

 

Nowhere in the Constitution is there a requirement that a Party must have a certain number of candidates or seats to form Government. While it may be that usually a Party obtains a majority of seats the constitution does not state that a minimum number of seats is necessary. The practice is for the Leader of the Party with the most seats after the election to be asked whether he or she can form Government. If the people of Gibraltar elected all PDP candidates and there were no other bigger Party in the Parliament then the Governor would be obliged to ask Mr Azopardi to try to form Government. The PDP would then see whether it could do so in a minority administration (as has happened in Scotland only this year) or in coalition with others (as the 5 IWBP candidates did in 1969). In fact in that 1969 election the IWBP only stood with six candidates. The basis for the GBC decision is therefore legally wrong, historically inaccurate and undemocratic.

 

The PDP reiterate that it is for the people to decide what role the Party should have and not for GBC or anybody else to do so. Indeed what is remarkable of the GBC statement is that they admit that in 1992 the Leader of a Party with seven candidates was allowed to participate in the Leaders debate. If this is not inconsistent with the exclusion of Mr Azopardi from this Leaders debate what is?

 

he PDP believe the decision of GBC is unfair, undemocratic, wrong in law and unconstitutional. How does it help democracy to deprive a political party of a platform on t. e eve of the election? Who stands to gain from such exclusion? The eve of the election debate can be crucial in the course of any election campaign.

 

Source: Press Release (21/09/07)


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