GSLP/Liberal candidate Isola wins by-election




by our Political correspondent
Albert Isola has successfully defended the vacant GSLP/Liberal parliamentary seat to become the Government's tenth minister- he goes straight to work after he is sworn into office later this morning by the Governor.

At about 1.40 am the Returning officer Melvyn Farrell announced the official results: Albert Isola received 4,899 votes; the GSD's Marlene Nahon was second with 3,927 votes; the PDP's Nick Cruz came in third with 688 votes and independent candidate Bryan Zammit last with 315 votes.

In the customary speeches following the election result Albert Isola said that 'he was proud he won the seat back for Charles Bruzon' he said the result was not about him but a vote of confidence in the Government. He added that he is ready to start work and was thrilled and privileged to be working with his colleagues.

Marlene Nahon also thanked her colleagues and family, saying that it had been an exciting experience particularly talking to people in the community. Earlier in another interview she said she would be honoured to present herself as a GSD candidate in the next elections.

Nick Cruz called the by-election his 'D' Day where he had missed the beaches; he said the PDP had tried to give a simple message that different politics is possible. And that he will be reflecting in the next few weeks the future of the party.

Bryan Zammit also thanked those who had been part of his campaign; he said he wanted to bring another system of politics which the people did not want. He described the election campaign as a surreal experience.

One important characteristic that emerged during the election campaign, which may have had an effect on the outcome, is that whilst the GSLP candidate concentrated on achievements by way of putting forward and presenting a long list of forward thinking policies for a better future of Gibraltar, the GSD as they did at the 2011 election preferred to focus again on a negative style of politics without offering the electorate an alternative view only negativity and unconstructiveness.

Although this may still be early days, but in this initial and short post-election analysis, the GSD campaign seemed to have been to try and win the election, not because they had the better candidate, but because of the continuous faults they tried to pick with the government who were their main rivals. An astute electorate was able to see through all that!

Some people commented last night that some soul-searching may be mandatory at the GSD, and that the party may have to regroup again and consider if what they are offering the electorate is actually being delivered effectively or in the best possible manner.

As for the PDP there were a lot of mixed feelings regarding the third and less likely party or candidate. Nick Cruz is a likeable guy he immaculately prepares himself when he speaks in public. The PDP leader even before the result had already intimated he may have to consider the party's future in the event of a low result, this unfortunately may be a reality now.

Bryan Zammit the independent candidate polled as low as what many had expected. If it's difficult for a party like the PDP to break through into local politics, Mr Zammit may have to come back and fight another many more days, either that or he will have to review his policies which obviously have not been that popular.

There were indeed two victors on this Election Day - aside from Albert Isola. The other was democracy.

For the Government the result of the by-election can be seen as a positive reminder that a sizable proportion of the electorate is content with the work they have conducted so far.

Total votes cast was just over 10,000 representing 46% of the electorate, slightly under the 49% turnout at the previous by-election in 1999.

The advent of social media had made some observers think that the turnout at this election could be 60%, indeed Feetham expected 75%.But it is clear that the social media is not the proven method to sway the electorate one way or the other, whatever other virtues it may have.

Zammit himself gave the impression that because his Facebook group has a few thousand members that this would turn into support for him, which clearly was not the case.

It must be disheartening for the GSD that in their first election since Caruana gave up the leadership, that they have lost, although with 40% they can hope for better times.

RESULT

Cruz 688 (7%)

Isola 4899 (50%)

Nahon 3927 (40%)

Zammit 315 (3%)

05-07-13

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