Monday, May 11, 2009

Support grows for Jonathan Stagnetto Gibraltar MEP Candidate campaign on Facebook

As you may have read in my post last Thursday, Gibraltarian Jonathan Stagnetto is standing for election in the forthcoming vote for the European Parliament in the Gibraltar and South West England Region constituency on 4th June 2009.

As a lifetime LibDem supporter myself, I was particularly delighted to hear of his standing, not only because I have been longing for Gibraltarian representation in the European Parliament for a very long time, but also and especially, because Jonathan is standing as part of the list of the Liberal Democrats party.

In order to give Jonathan my support, I offered my help and I am delighted to say I am now one of the Admins on the Facebook Group that has been set up in support of Jonathan Stagnetto - Gibraltarian MEP Candidate.

This Facebook Group has been set up to provide a focus and forum for news updates about Jonathan's campaign and gives supporters an opportunity to comment and share their thoughts and ideas on ways to promote his campaign. The Group is open to everyone and of course, we would very much welcome your support!

Please visit the 'Jonathan Stagnetto - Gibraltarian MEP Candidate' Facebook Group page to learn how you too can help in Jonathan's MEP Candidacy Campaign... and help get the first ever Gibraltarian MEP elected to the European Parliament!

European Parliament Election preparations

The European Parliamentary Constituency of Gibraltar and South West England Region of the UK comprises the ceremonial counties of Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire.

Voters, both in Gibraltar and the UK areas of the constituency, have begun receiving their poll cards by post as preparations for the forthcoming European elections gather speed.

According to a report in the Gibraltar Chronicle today, as of 17th April 2009, there were 20,357 persons in Gibraltar, registered and eligible to vote in the European Parliamentary election on 4th June 2009.

Last Friday, Gibraltar's Electoral returning officer Melvyn Farrell, the Clerk to the Gibraltar Parliament, urged anyone who has not yet received their poll card to check with his team at Parliament House. Mr Farrell warned:

"If they haven’t received their poll card, it could be because it hasn’t been delivered yet or because they are not on the electoral register."

The deadline to ensure voters are on the register is 19th May 2009. That day is also the deadline for registration to vote by post.

Gibraltar voters have in the past turned out in high numbers to elect their representatives to the European parliament.

At the last election in 2004, some 57% of eligible voters in Gibraltar cast their ballot papers, well above the UK average which was 30%.

The elections are being held across Europe during the first week of June, with different countries polling on different days.

Gibraltar is included within the South West Region constituency of the European Parliament. For the first time ever, a Gibraltarian, Jonathan Stagnetto, is standing for election as part of the Liberal Democrats candidate list.

The region is being managed by the regional returning officer Paul Morris, who will visit Gibraltar later this month. This will be Mr Morris' third visit to date, to talk to the local election team.

In the coming days, Mr Farrell and his team will begin physical preparations for the count at the John Mackintosh Hall.

Although the election is on 4th June, the count will not take place until several days later, with the ballot boxes kept in the Supreme Court during the interim period.

As in local elections, there will be 12 polling stations in various districts around Gibraltar. "People can expect to vote where they normally go,” Mr Farrell said.

As well as Mr Farrell’s election team, a further 60 volunteers from the Civil Service will be drafted in to help run the polling stations. Another 36 volunteers will help with the count itself.

Support for Gibraltar MEP Candidate - How you can help

In a matter of days, support for Jonathan Stagnetto, on his Facebook Group, has grown rapidly and is now standing at 204 as I write.

If you haven't done so already, why not join us and help support Jonathan's Campaign for Europe? If you have family or friends in Gibraltar or living or perhaps studying in the constituency areas of the UK, you can also help by inviting them to join the Facebook group and support and vote for Jonathan.

Support our Gibraltarian candidate... Vote for the Liberal Democrat list on the 4th June and help elect the first Gibraltarian to the European Parliament! cool

Liberal Democrat Policy for Europe

In addition to representing and supporting Gibraltar's interests and issues in the European Parliament, Jonathan Stagnetto will also be supporting the Liberal Democrats policies for Europe.

These policies include greater focus on policy reform and improving existing common policies in order to bring about real change within the EU, through whatever institutional framework exists; stronger environmental policies; transfer of 30% of agricultural expenditure into a Rural Development budget, focused on environmental improvements; vigorous support for further economic reform and for the completion of the Single Market; strong UK backing for measures in the Freedom, Security and Justice (FSJ) area, such as tackling terrorism, fighting international crime and better justice for UK citizens within the EU; more accountability in budget-setting in general and in regional policy; fines for member states for poor financial management of EU funds; and leadership from the UK on improved EU defence co-operation including on procurement.

You can view more detailed Liberal Democrats policies for Europe here.