The Rock votes for more freedom from UK
1 December 2006
GIBRALTAR — Residents of the Rock voted for a constitution change which gives the colony more independence from London.
But there was a low turn out at the polls with only 60 percent of voters bothering to cast their votes, compared with an 87 percent turnout in 2002 at a previous vote on sharing sovereignty with Spain, which was defeated.
Sixty percent of the 30,000 residents voted for a charter which replaces the Rock’s 1969 constitution. Thirty-seven voted against.
The new document has the support of all parties and the chief minister Peter Caruana.
The vote comes after Britain, Spain and Gibraltar agreed a series of initiatives to improve relations in September.
Spain still claims sovereignty but the three sides agreed to measures including better communications links, more relaxed border controls and to allow Gibraltar airport to open up to flights from Madrid.
The first flight from the Spanish capital to Gibraltar is scheduled for 16 December.
Gibraltar also agreed to pay pensions of Spanish workers.
Under the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, Gibraltar can only be handed over to Spain by Britain if its sovereignty changes.
The vote for more independence hypothetically opens the door to handing sovereignty over to Spain.
But most Gibraltarians oppose any Spanish influence.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news