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Caruana returns as head of rock government

28 November 2003

GIBRALTAR- Peter Caruana was confirmed on Friday as the first minister in Gibraltar.

The Social Democrat Party leader was returned to head the colony’s government, winning 51 percent of the vote in elections held on Thursday.

His nearest rival, Joe Bossano, leader of the Socialist-Liberal alliance, recorded only 40 percent of votes.

After his victory, Caruana – who has been head of the colony’s government for the past eight years – said his party had recorded a wide margin between themselves and the Socialist-Liberal alliance.

But he admitted after eight years in power, votes for his party were lower than at the last elections in 2000, when they won 58 percent of the votes.

Caruana said the “danger” of these elections was “that people would pay a lot of attention to the opinion polls”, which predicted a clear victory for the Social Democratic Party.

He said the troubled relationship between Gibraltar and the Spanish government – which maintains a claim for sovereignty over the Rock – Mr Caruana said “that it is Madrid that puts conditions for the friendship” between both communities.

Caruana has always opposed closer links with Spain.

Mr Bossano declared that his party made a big effort to shorten the distance between the two parties, but claimed the third party – referring to Labour – have succeeded cutting their share of the vote.

The Labour Party, under the leadership of Daniel Feetham – which fielded a candidate for the first time – won eight per cent of the votes.

The independent candidate, Lyana Armstrong-Emery, only won one per cent of the 14,610 votes cast.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news