The GSD was founded in 1989 with its first Leader being Peter Montegriffo. At that stage the GSD had one solitary MP in the then House of Assembly [now the Gibraltar Parliament]. When Mr Montegriffo resigned his Parliamentary seat in 1991 Peter Caruana who had become Party Leader won that contested bye-election against the then main opposition Party, the AACR. At the 1992 general elections the GSD swept all opposition seats with Peter Caruana becoming Leader of the Opposition. In 1996 the GSD managed to overturn a massive majority that the then GSLP Government had obtained at the previous 1992 general election and were elected to Government. The first GSD administration was made up of Peter Caruana [as Chief Minister], Peter Montegriffo [as Deputy Chief Minister], Ernest Britto, Hubert Corby, Keith Azopardi, Joe Holliday, Bernard Linares and Jaime Netto. The GSD were then re-elected to Government in three subsequent general elections, 2000, 2003 and 2007. There were changes of personnel during those years with other serving Ministers being Yvette Del Agua, Fabian Vinet, Clive Beltran, Edwin Reyes and Daniel Feetham.
The years of GSD Government saw a massive social, economic and political transformation of Gibraltar. There was a programme of massive investment in infrastructure in the health service, roads, housing, airport as well as a consolidation and expansion in financial services, tourism and shipping. Gibraltar also successfully obtained a new constitution after 8 years of negotiation and defeated the attempt to impose a joint sovereignty proposal against the wishes of the people of Gibraltar.
At the 2011 general election the GSD lost a closely fought contest to the GSLP/Liberal alliance and once again became the opposition. Peter Caruana became Leader of the Opposition but announced in 2013 that he would stand down as Leader after twenty years at the helm of the Party. Daniel Feetham won the ensuing Leadership election against Damon Bossino and became Party Leader and Leader of the Opposition. At the 2015 general election the Party were returned to the Opposition seats. In July 2017 Daniel Feetham stood down as Party Leader citing personal reasons for doing so. Roy Clinton became the acting Opposition Leader until the leadership election to be held later in the year. At the leadership election held on 30 November 2017 Keith Azopardi was elected Party Leader with 61% of the votes cast.
GSD Party Timeline (General Elections)
Party formed 1989
In the 1992 election, the party won 20.2% of the popular vote and 7 seats.
In the 1996 election, the party won 52.20% of the popular vote and 8 seats.
In the 2000 election, the party won 58.35% of the popular vote and 8 seats.
In the 2003 election, the party won 51.45% of the popular vote and 8 seats.
In the 2011 election, the party won 46.76% of the popular vote and 7 seats, and was unable to secure a fifth term.
In the 2015 election, the party won 31.56% of the popular vote and 7 seats.
In the 2019 election, the party won 25.6% of the popular vote and 6 seats.
List of Leaders
Dr Keith Azopardi QC November 2017 – Present
Daniel Feetham QC January 2013 – July 2017
Sir Peter Caruana QC May 1991 – January 2013
Peter Montegriffo 1989 – April 1991