By Graeme Hanna •
Published: 14 Oct 2023 • 15:05
Mayor Juan Franco and Gibraltar Chief Minister Picardo in La Linea de la Frontera
Credit: Gibraltar Government
The mayor of La Linea has sent his congratulations to Gibraltar’s Chief Minister on his electoral victory, as the new government has been sworn in on the British Overseas Territory.
Juan Franco, the leader of the border town in the Cadiz province of Andalusia which borders the Rock spoke of his personal friendship with Fabian Picardo and their mutual relationship whilst emphasising the need for a final post-Brexit settlement regarding movement and trading on both sides.
The leader of La Linea was generous to the to the leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi, wishing him well in future contests as well as commenting on the commendable 76 per cent voter turnout as a reflection of the healthy state of Gibraltar’s political system.
As reported by the Gibraltar Chronicle, Franco described himself as happy that “in a moment as important as this, when I hope that the final Brexit negotiations will begin, Gibraltar’s representative will remain the same”.
“I hope that the Government of Gibraltar is constituted soon, and also that it is constituted in Spain so that the Brexit negotiations, which are so important to us, can recommence,” he continued.
He will be grateful for the continuity that is afforded with the new term for Picardo’s GSLP, which was officially ratified when Gibraltar’s Chief Minister and his eight portfolio ministers were sworn into office at a service in The Convent on Friday October 13.
Soon after, he led his team into No.6 Convent Place to get straight down to work with a pledge to deliver on the manifesto that sealed their mandate.
Brexit blues for Gibraltar
In the ongoing post-Brexit era, the outcome so far hasn’t been smooth for the UK and that feeling is felt in a very acute sense right next to the doorstep of Spain, as admitted by Picardo.
As featured by Euro Weekly News, he has previously stated that he is “sick to the back teeth of Brexit” and the problems that it has thrown up, to the extent that he feels the British electorate let down his people.
Amid the conflict crisis in Ukraine and the Middle East and their respective domestic problems, Rishi Sunak and Pedro Sanchez (or their successors) will be urged by Picardo and Franco to find a solution for the specific needs of Gibraltar.
The Chief Minister will continue to pursue his key priority of a treaty with Spain in order to settle their economic future.
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Graeme is a freelance writer based in Belfast, Northern Ireland who has been writing full-time for the last three years. He specialises in football and Rangers FC in particular, as well as being on top of news and trending matters. His work has been published in titles such as Rangers Review, Give Me Sport, Manchester Evening News, MyLondon and the Belfast News Letter.
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