The Chief Minister has today given notice of a Motion that he will move in Parliament setting the date for the Referendum on abortion to take place on Thursday 24th June 2021.
It is significant to point out that it is now exactly one year since the decision was taken to postpone the Referendum in the light of the developing COVID-19 pandemic.
Given the drop in the number of infections in the community, and the corresponding decline in the number of patients in hospital and in intensive care, the Government has taken the view that it is now safe to continue with the Referendum campaign from where it had left off.
The situation will be closely monitored between now and polling day in accordance with the public health situation. However, the Referendum campaign will remain strictly subject to the public health rules and regulations in force at any given moment, including in particular those on public gatherings.
The Motion which the Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo QC MP, intends to move reads as follows:
1. NOTES the motion passed unanimously by this House on Friday, 20th December 2019, to hold a Referendum that the question of the commencement of the Crimes (Amendment) Act 2019 would be put to the people of Gibraltar in a Referendum.
2. ENDORSES the text of the said motion.
3. RECALLS the Order for a Referendum on the 19th March 2020 was revoked on the 12th March 2020 as a result of the then developing Public Health emergency arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
AND THEREFORE RESOLVES that an Order for a Referendum under Section 3 of the Referendum Act 2015 now be made convening the Referendum to be held on Thursday 24th June 2021.”
The Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo, said: “It is exactly a year since the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was about to hit us and all parties agreed with the decision to delay the Referendum to commence our abortion law. As things slowly improve now we are confident we will be able to see people vote safely by late June, with appropriate precautions in place and encouraging postal voting. For that reason, I will move the motion in the House to fix a date for the Referendum on the 24th June. I have agreed this position with all three of the other party leaders in our Parliament.”