Gibraltar: Country and Foreign Investment
In 1830 Gibraltar became the Crown Colony of Gibraltar with legislative powers vested in a Governor; a Charter of Justice created an independent Judiciary. Gibraltar is now a dependent territory of the UK with internal self-government based on a Constitution of 1969. The UK remains responsible for defence, foreign affairs and internal security.
Gibraltar has its own House of Assembly, comprising fifteen elected members and two nominated members; the last elections were in 2011. The two main parties are the Gibraltar Social Democrats and the Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party (led by Fabian Picardo). The latter is currently in power.
The Chief Minister who is appointed by the Governor heads the Council of Ministers who are responsible for matters such as trade, economic development, education, public services, and housing. There is an advisory Gibraltar Council.
Gibraltar is politically stable and as a British colony since 1704 its legal systems are based on English models, although of course EU law applies in most areas. There are three levels of court, and a Court of Appeal.
In December 2006, Gibraltarians accepted a new constitution for the jurisdiction, which aimed to give it more autonomy from the United Kingdom over its own internal affairs. In a referendum, 60.24% of those who turned out voted 'yes' to the new constitution, while 37.75% voted to reject it. 60.4% of Gibraltar's 20,061 registered voters turned out to vote.
The constitution, agreed in April of that year by then UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and then Chief Minister of Gibraltar Peter Caruana, and between Gibraltar's two main political parties later in the year, saw the UK retaining international responsibility for Gibraltar. However, the new constitution ceded certain powers previously in the possession of the British government to Gibraltar, and allowed the jurisdiction to have its own independent judiciary.