Gibraltar is a parliamentary democracy and became a parliament in 2006 when the new Constitution was introduced. This saw the existing House of Assembly pass to parliamentary status.
The building which houses the Parliament was erected by public subscription in 1817 by the Exchange Committee. This was the first prominent representative body of the civilian population pursuing civil rights in a predominantly fortress environment and it also became the forum of petitions to the Governor. It later became the Exchange and Commercial Library.
In 1950, the Legislative Council took up residence in the building where it remained until its merger with the City Council in 1969, to become the House of Assembly established by the Gibraltar Constitution Order 1969.
On 2nd January 2007, the Gibraltar Constitution Order 2006 came into effect. The Order restyles the House of Assembly as the Gibraltar Parliament.
The Gibraltar Parliament is the heart of democracy in Gibraltar and the rock foundation of the sovereignty of the Gibraltarians, that is, “Gibraltarians” in its widest sense since not only the indigenous but British inhabitants are enfranchised.
The 1969 Sovereignty Preamble remains in the new 2006 Constitution, as follows:
"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, and 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 freely and democratically expressed wishes".
The Gibraltar Constitution Order 2006 further states:
"And whereas the people of Gibraltar have in a referendum held on 30th November 2006 freely approved and accepted the Constitution annexed to this Order which gives the people of Gibraltar that degree of self-government which is compatible with British sovereignty of Gibraltar and with the fact that the United Kingdom remains fully responsible for Gibraltar’s external relations".
The current Chief Minister is the Rt Hon Fabian Picardo who leads a GSLP – Liberal coalition. The Deputy Chief Minister is Dr Joseph Garcia who leads the Liberal Party. The opposition is made up of the MPs of the GSD, the former party of government until the December 2011 election. The party is led by Daniel Feetham who was elected after the Rt Hon Peter Caruana MP – the former Chief Minister- stood down in January 2013. One other party fielded a full slate of candidates at the last general election – the PDP which is led by Nick Cruz. It returned no MPs.
Gibraltar's Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, was an invited guest for the inauguration of the US President in January 2003. Whilst in Washington he met President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama and leading members of the administration and Democratic Party.
Click on the links below to go to the various websites: