|Parliament: Who will sit where?|
"The Gibraltar Parliament is composed of 17 members, with the Government usually formed of ten members of the same party. Voters are allowed to vote for a maximum of ten candidates, with the parties tending to present that number at election.
For the 2011 election at least, a party can technically gain a majority with seven members, with the rival parties gaining the remaining ten seats with either a 6/4 or 5/5 split. This would lead to an unworkable government, however, as the Opposition, when combined, would have a majority, thus rendering the government ineffective.
The same situation would occur should the majority party gain eight seats. Instead, to achieve an absolute majority, the leading party would have to gain nine seats, but even this would give them only the slimmest of margins over the Opposition; a party defection, or an unprecedented bye-election, could tip the scales in the opposite direction. Therefore, stable government can only be achieved with the 10-7 split that is now traditional of Gibraltarian parliaments (before the 2006 Constitution, the Assembly had 15 seats, usually formed of eight Government Ministers and seven Members of the Opposition).
While the Opposition may be made up of individuals from a number of parties, this is rarely the case, with those benches usually occupied by members of the same party (although bye-elections can change this, as was the case when both Chief Minister Peter Caruana and Liberal leader Dr Joseph Garcia were first elected to government). As a result, most parliamentary votes end up with a result of 10-7 or 17-0.