Status of Gibraltar
Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory, located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, is the subject of an irredentist territorial claim by Spain. It was captured in 1704 during the War of the Spanish Succession; the Spanish Crown formally ceded the territory in perpetuity to the British Crown in 1713, under Article X of the Treaty of Utrecht. Spain attempted to recapture the territory during the thirteenth siege and the Great Siege. British sovereignty over Gibraltar was confirmed in treaties signed in Seville and the Treaty of Paris. Reclamation of the territory became government policy under the regime of the dictator Francisco Franco and has remained in place under successive governments following the Spanish transition to democracy; the Gibraltarians themselves reject any such claim and no political party or pressure group in Gibraltar supports union with Spain. In a referendum in 2002 the people of Gibraltar rejected a joint sovereignty proposal on which Spain and the United Kingdom were said to have reached "broad agreement".
The British Government now refuses to discuss sovereignty without the consent of the Gibraltarians. In 2000, a political declaration of unity was signed by the members of the Gibraltar Parliament. Spain insists on a bilateral agreement with the UK over sovereignty, whereas the UK will only discuss sovereignty if Gibraltar is included in the discussions; the United Nations understanding of the positions of each party is set out in their 2016 report. The UN lists Gibraltar a Non-Self-Governing Territory. Gibraltar was captured in 1704 by a force led by Admiral Sir George Rooke representing the Grand Alliance on behalf of the Archduke Charles, pretender to the Spanish Throne. After the battle all of the inhabitants decided to leave. Spanish attempts to regain the territory in the Twelfth Siege of Gibraltar failed, it was ceded to the Kingdom of Great Britain by Spain in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht as part of the settlement of the War of the Spanish Succession. In that treaty, Spain ceded to Great Britain "the full and entire propriety of the town and castle of Gibraltar, together with the port and forts thereunto belonging... for without any exception or impediment whatsoever."
Should the British Crown wish to relinquish Gibraltar, a reversion clause holds that the territory would first be offered to Spain, "And in case it shall hereafter seem meet to the Crown of Great Britain to grant, sell or by any means to alienate therefrom the propriety of the said town of Gibraltar, it is hereby agreed and concluded that the preference of having the sale shall always be given to the Crown of Spain before any others." Furthermore, the Treaty stipulates "that the above-named propriety be yielded to Great Britain without any territorial jurisdiction, without any open communication by land with the country round about" and that no overland trade between Gibraltar and Spain is to take place, except for emergency provisions in the case that Gibraltar is unable to be resupplied by sea. The British Government and the Government of Gibraltar today argue that the membership of both Gibraltar and Spain in the European Union — Gibraltar was included as a Special member state territory when the United Kingdom joined the EU in 1973.
The United Nations February 2016 report sets out the differing points of view of the various parties with regard to Gibraltar which the United Nations considers to be a Non-Self-Governing Territory administered by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Gibraltar was given the Gibraltar Constitution Order 2006 by Britain which established a form of government whereby the Governor of Gibraltar is responsible for the conduct of external affairs, internal security and for certain appointments to public office, the Government of Gibraltar is made responsible for all other matters; the UK believes that as an independent territory, recognised by the United Nations, Gibraltar enjoys the individual and collective rights that are set out in the 2006 constitution and the right of self-determination. Spain disputes the legality of the constitution and claims that it does not change the position of Gibraltar as a colony of the UK with only the UK empowered to discuss Gibraltar matters on the international scene.
The territorial government of Gibraltar, based on law in the 2006 constitution, collects its own taxes and budgets its costs and capital expenditure, with maximum personal tax rates of 28% and company tax of 10%. Spain notes that the European Commission is investigating the tax regime of Gibraltar and that Spain considers Gibraltar a tax haven; the UK believes Gibraltar meets all EU laws regarding the issues of anti-money-laundering, direct taxation and financial supervision. Gibraltar has a robust financial regulation system with anti-tax-evasion agreements including exchange of tax information with 79 countries including all the EU nations, except Spain which has not responded; the UK asked for Gibraltar to be subject to an EU evaluation of its anti-money-laundering controls. Spain recalls that crimes of tobacco smuggling and money-laundering from Gibraltar had been noted in an EU anti fraud report i
Gibraltar identity card
The Gibraltar identity card is an official identity document issued by the Government of Gibraltar to all British citizens living in Gibraltar, which serves as a valid travel document within the European Economic Area and Switzerland for holders who are British Citizens or British Overseas Territories Citizens connected to Gibraltar. In June 2015, the Government of Gibraltar started issuing electronic identity cards. Gibraltar passport National identity cards in the European Union HM Government of Gibraltar: ID cards & Civilian registration cards Gibnet.com unofficial guide to the Gibraltar identity card
2015 Gibraltar general election
The Gibraltar general election of 2015 to elect all 17 members to the 3rd Gibraltar Parliament took place on Thursday, 26 November 2015. Chief Minister Fabian Picardo announced the date of the election on Monday 19 October 2015 during a speech on the Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation. Under section 38 of the Gibraltar Constitution Order 2006, the parliament must be dissolved by the Governor four years after its first meeting following the last election. Under section 37 of the Constitution, writs for a general election must be issued within thirty days of the dissolution and the general election must be held no than three months after the issuing of a writ. In October 2015, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo announced that the election would take place on 26 November. Following the British tradition, elections in Gibraltar conventionally take place on a Thursday; the UK-based UK Independence Party announced in 2014 that it was planning on fielding candidates for the first time in Gibraltar's next general election.
However they did not field any candidates. There were no independents, the first occasion on which no independents or members of any party outside of Parliament contested the elections. A GBC public opinion poll of 17 November predicted 67% for GSLP/Libs and 33% for GSD; the results saw the first occasion on which a party won over 100,000. Both the GSLP and LPG received more votes in the elections than in any other previous general elections, with the LPG receiving the highest percentage of votes in its history. Contrastingly, the GSD saw the largest drop in its vote share in its history. Voter turnout was the lowest since 1980; the figures above have been consolidated by party. Under the Gibraltar electoral system, all candidates are listed on the ballot paper individually; every voter has up to 10 votes to vote for their choice from all the candidates standing. Accordingly, although there are more seats available, the main parties field 10 candidates and hope to secure'block votes', thus the total of 147,495 votes comes from 16,475 voters, a 70.8% turnout of the electorate
Governor of Gibraltar
The Governor of Gibraltar is the representative of the British monarch in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. The governor is appointed by the monarch on the advice of the British Government; the role of the governor is to act as the de facto head of state, he is responsible for formally appointing the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, along with other members of the Government of Gibraltar after a general election. The governor serves as commander-in-chief of Gibraltar's military forces and has sole responsibility for defence and security; the governor has his own flag in Gibraltar, the Union Flag defaced with the territory's coat of arms. However, at the governor's official residence, the Union flag and the flag of Gibraltar are flown; the Convent Flag of the Governor of Gibraltar Chief Minister of Gibraltar Governors of Gibraltar at the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Gibraltar Constitution Order 1969
The Gibraltar Constitution Order 1969 was published on 30 May 1969 as an Order in Council. The constitution was the outcome of the Constitutional Conference chaired by Malcolm Shepherd, 2nd Baron Shepherd which lasted from July 16, 1968 to July 24; the Gibraltarian members of the Constitutional Conference were: Joshua Hassan, Aurelio Montegriffo and Abraham Serfaty for the Association for the Advancement of Civil Rights. The move towards the 1969 Constitution was sparked off after the outcome of the 1967 sovereignty referendum, where 99.19% of Gibraltarians voted against passing under Spanish sovereignty and in favour of retaining their link with Britain, with democratic local institutions and with Britain retaining its present responsibilities. The crucial feature of the 1969 Constitution for the Gibraltarians was the Preamble to the Order in Council promulgating the Constitution, in its final form began: Whereas Gibraltar is part of Her Majesty’s dominions and Her Majesty’s Government have given assurances to the people of Gibraltar that Gibraltar will remain part of Her Majesty’s dominions unless and until an Act of Parliament otherwise provides, furthermore that Her Majesty’s Government will never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another state against their and democratically expressed wishes.
This Preamble has been called the "single most significant statement made on the sovereignty of Gibraltar since the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht". Upon the request of the United Nations and the United Kingdom had been developing inconclusive talks about Gibraltar for the previous three years. Since 1954, the Government of Spain under the leadership of Francisco Franco had been applying restrictive measures in its relationships with Gibraltar. On 24 July 1968, it complained to the UN Secretary General claiming that the constitutional talks were a "further obstacle to the solution of Gibraltar's future", a statement, rejected by the Government of the United Kingdom.". Shortly thereafter the frontier was closed by the Spanish Guardia Civil and chaos ensued as controls were implemented on travellers trying to use the ferry service at the port of Algeciras; this situation was a precursor to the frontier closure implemented the following year. The Constitution came into immediate effect. Elections were scheduled for 30 July.
The Spanish government described the promulgation as an open disregard by the UK government of the UN Resolutions and a violation of the Treaty of Utrecht. On 6 July 1969, the decision to close the land border between Spain and Gibraltar was taken. Next day the decision was implemented; the closing of the border, together with various other restrictions, was a severe shock for the Gibraltarians, who became aware that across the frontier there was a hostile and threatening foreign power. The closure of the frontier would last thirteen years and was considered by the Gibraltarians as the last in a series of sieges held by Spain to attempt to secure the surrender of the town. Constitution of Gibraltar Gibraltar Constitution Order 2006 Gibraltar sovereignty referendum, 1967 Jackson, William; the Rock of the Gibraltarians. A History of Gibraltar. Grendon, Northamptonshire, UK: Gibraltar Books. P. 316. ISBN 0-948466-14-6. Gibraltar Constitution Order 1969
Politics of Gibraltar
The politics of Gibraltar takes place within a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic British Overseas Territory, whereby the Monarch of the United Kingdom is the constitutional head of state represented by the Governor of Gibraltar. The Chief Minister of Gibraltar is the head of Government; as a British Overseas Territory, the Government of Gibraltar is not subordinate to the Government of the United Kingdom. The British Government, however, is responsible for defence and external affairs but Gibraltar has full internal self-government under its 2006 Constitution. Gibraltar is represented in the European Union, having been the only British Overseas Territory to have joined the European Economic Community under the British Treaty of Accession; the government of Spain continues with an irredentist territorial claim to Gibraltar, ceded in perpetuity to the British Crown in 1713 by Article X of the Treaty of Utrecht. In a referendum held in 2002, a proposal for shared sovereignty was overwhelmingly rejected by the Gibraltar electorate with 98.97% voting against.
The sovereignty issue remains an important factor in local politics. Gibraltar has a number of political parties; the preamble to the 2006 Constitution repeated from the 1969 Constitution states that "Her Majesty's Government will never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another state against their and democratically expressed wishes." As an overseas territory of Britain, the head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, represented by the Governor of Gibraltar. Britain retains responsibility for defence, foreign relations, internal security and financial stability; the Government of Gibraltar is elected for a term of four years. The head of Government is the Chief Minister the Hon. Fabian Picardo of the Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party, in office since 9 December 2011, in alliance with the Gibraltar Liberal Party, following the 2011 General Election; the Leader of the Opposition is the Hon. Daniel Feetham of the Gibraltar Social Democrats since 2013.
The composition of the Government of Gibraltar is the following: The Gibraltar Parliament consists of seventeen elected members, the Speaker. Under the electoral system of partial bloc voting used since 1969, voters could choose up to ten candidates, who do not need to be from the same party; the winning candidates are chosen by simple plurality. The last election was held on 26 November 2015. Queen Elizabeth II is represented by the Governor and Commander-in-Chief, presently Lieutenant General Edward Davis. After an election, the Governor appoints the leader of the largest party in the unicameral parliament, as Chief Minister; the Governor is not involved in the day-to-day administration of Gibraltar, his role is as a ceremonial head of state. The Governor is responsible for matters of security only. There are three political parties represented in the Gibraltar Parliament: Gibraltar Social Democrats. All parties support Gibraltar's right to self-determination, reject any concessions on the issue of sovereignty.
Since the 2003 election the Reform Party has dissolved, with the party leader and others now involved in Friends of the Earth. The Labour Party has merged with the Gibraltar Social Democrats. A new party, New Gibraltar Democracy, announced. NGD claimed that the two main parties were "Out of touch with people's expectations and make up for their lack of ideas through Orwellian style propaganda." At the 2007 election one candidate, Charles Gomez, stood for election for the party. It has subsequently ceased any activity. In June 2006 the Progressive Democratic Party was formed and announced it would be presenting a full slate of candidates and had entered the political arena as "a fresh and modern alternative," to both the ruling Gibraltar Social Democrats and the Opposition GSLP/Liberals. However. In the 2007 election it only presented six candidates. 1 These figures have been consolidated by party. Under the Gibraltar electoral system, all candidates are listed on the ballot paper individually. 2 Every voter has up to 10 votes to vote for their choice from all the candidates standing.
Accordingly, although there are more seats available, the main parties field 10 candidates and hope to secure'block votes'. Thus the total of 154,743 votes comes from 16,004 voters, an 81.4% turnout of the electorate. 1 These figures have been consolidated by party. Under the Gibraltar electoral system, all candidates are listed on the ballot paper individually.2 Every voter has up to 10 votes to vote for their choice from all the candidates standing. Accordingly although there are more seats available, the main parties field 10 candidates and hope to secure'block votes', thus the total of 174,757 votes comes from an 81.4 % turnout of the electorate. In August 2013, the PDP has dissolved after a series of disappointing election results. Although part of the EU under the British Treaty of accession, Gibraltar had not voted in elections for the European Parliament although its membership of the European Union meant it was affected by European Union law. A ten-year campaign to acquire the vote culminated in the case of Matthew
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