1984 Gibraltar general election

1984 Gibraltar general election

← 1980 26 January 1984 1988 →

All 15 seats in the House of Assembly
8 seats needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party
Leader Joshua Hassan Joe Bossano
Party AACR Socialist Labour
Seats won 8 7
Popular vote 42,460 32,534
Percentage 44.39% 34.18%

Chief Minister before election

Joshua Hassan

Elected Chief Minister

Joshua Hassan

General elections were held in Gibraltar on 26 January 1984. The Association for the Advancement of Civil Rights (AACR) administration of Joshua Hassan was re-elected for a further term.

The election was referred to as the "dockyard election", as the future of the Gibraltar Royal Naval Dockyard was the only significant campaign issue.


Under the constitution of 1969, in the 1980s the Gibraltar House of Assembly had seventeen seats, two held by official members appointed by the Governor of Gibraltar (the attorney-general and the financial secretary), and fifteen others elected at-large by the whole electorate in a single Gibraltar-wide constituency. A party or coalition winning eight seats in the Assembly had an effective majority and formed the government.[1]

The Association for the Advancement of Civil Rights (called in full the "Gibraltar Labour Party Association for the Advancement of Civil Rights") had been the dominant political force in Gibraltar since the Second World War, winning every election but one.[2] Hassan had been Chief Minister since 1964, apart from the three years between 1969 and 1972,[3] and the previous election, held on 6 February 1980, had produced a House of Assembly with eight AACR members, six from the opposition Democratic Party for a British Gibraltar, and one other, Joe Bossano, leader of the Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party. Despite his party's five other candidates all losing, Bossano had had a personal triumph, polling only sixty-four fewer votes than Hassan.[4]


The election was called "the dockyard election",[5] as almost the only campaign issue was the British Government's plans, agreed with Hassan's AACR government, to transfer the Gibraltar Royal Naval dockyard to Appledore International, with new investment from Britain of £ 28 million, but with a loss of some four hundred jobs. In the circumstances, the election amounted to a referendum on these proposals.[5] Hassan and his AACR campaigned in favour of the deal, on the slogan "the only way ahead".[6] Hassan stated firmly "I have obtained a very fair package and I feel a duty to see it implemented over the next four years. No one could have obtained a better deal." However, both of the leading opposition parties, the Democratic Party for a British Gibraltar led by Peter Isola and the Socialist Labour Party of Joe Bossano, campaigned against. The Democrats' platform was that on winning the election they would renegotiate the deal and press Britain for a further £5 million to pay for economic diversification. The leader of the Socialist Labour Party, Bossano, was also a leading member of the Transport and General Workers Union, the biggest labour organization in Gibraltar, and his position was that Appledore should be sent packing and the British government's £28 million should be spent "to relaunch Gibraltar's economy on a sounder and more durable foundation".[5][6]


The turnout on 26 January 1984 was 74%,[7] one of the highest ever known for a Gibraltar election.[5] Despite the re-election of Hassan's AACR administration, all eight of its candidates being elected to the House of Assembly, there was a dramatic turn of events in the politics of Gibraltar, with Isola's Democratic Party, the main opposition to the AACR since 1980, losing all six of its seats, and Bossano's Socialist Labour Party winning seven and taking over as the official opposition. Bossano himself came third in the at-large election, beating six of the winning party's candidates. In a touch of irony, his party's only losing candidate was surnamed "Victory".[8]

Association for the Advancement of Civil Rights42,26044.3980
Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party32,53434.187+6
Democratic Party for a British Gibraltar17,96718.870–6
Total votes12,626
Registered voters/turnout16,96074.45
Source: Parliament

By candidate

The first fifteen candidates were elected to the House of Assembly.

Candidate Party Votes
Joshua Hassan AACR 6,644
Adolfo Canepa AACR 6,098
Joe Bossano Socialist Labour Party 5,899
Reggie Valarino AACR 5,160
Brian Perez AACR 5,051
Maurice Kenneth Featherstone AACR 4,997
Francis Jesus Dellipiani AACR 4,857
George Mascarenhas AACR 4,795
Horace John Zammitt AACR 4,658
Joseph Ernest Pilcher Socialist Labour Party 4,160
Michael Alfred Feetham Socialist Labour Party 3,934
Maria Isabel Montegriffo Socialist Labour Party 3,815
Juan Carlos Perez Socialist Labour Party 3,711
Joseph Louis Baldachino Socialist Labour Party 3,700
Robert Mor Socialist Labour Party 3,685
Joseph Michael Victory Socialist Labour Party 3,630
Peter Isola Democratic Party for a British Gibraltar 2,946
Robert Peliza Democratic Party for a British Gibraltar 2,804
Andrew J. Haynes Democratic Party for a British Gibraltar 2,333
William Thomas Scott Democratic Party for a British Gibraltar 2,130
Eric J. Hoare Democratic Party for a British Gibraltar 2,061
Anthony Thomas Loddo Democratic Party for a British Gibraltar 2,002
James Dominic Rosado Democratic Party for a British Gibraltar 1,912
Anthony A. Carreras Independent 1,784
Cecil A. Isola Democratic Party for a British Gibraltar 1,779
David Cohen Independent 354
Charles J. Culatto Independent 295
Source: Parliament of Gibraltar


  1. ^ Richard Green, ed., The Commonwealth Yearbook 2006, p. 415
  2. ^ Johannes Kramer, English and Spanish in Gibraltar (Buske Verlag, 1986), pp. 27–28
  3. ^ Melissa R. Jordine, The Dispute Over Gibraltar (Infobase Publishing, 2009, ISBN 1438121393), p. 108
  4. ^ From Our Correspondent, 'Hassan party returned to power in Gibraltar' in The Times (London), issue 60545 dated 8 February 1980, p. 5
  5. ^ a b c d R. H. Haigh, D. S. Morris, Britain, Spain and Gibraltar 1945-1990: The Eternal Triangle (2002, ISBN 1134910185), p. 123: "The single-issue nature of the election served to ensure that it assumed the character of a referendum on the proposals agreed between the British and Gibraltarian Governments to convert the naval dockyard into a commercial ship repair yard; a fact attested to by the election being dubbed the 'dockyard election'."
  6. ^ a b Richard Wigg, 'Dockyards deal with Britain dominates poll in Gibraltar' in The Times (London), issue 61748 dated 26 January 1984, p. 7
  7. ^ 'For the record: Narrow victory' in The Times (London), issue 61749 dated 4 February 1984, p. 6
  8. ^ Peter Gold, Gibraltar: British or Spanish? (London: Routledge, 2005, ISBN 0-415-34795-5), pp. 59–60
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