The Malta Independent 18 April 2019, Thursday

First Female PN president elected

Malta Independent Saturday, 14 November 2009, 00:00 Last update: about 6 years ago

Paula Mifsud Bonnici secured the position of Nationalist Party’s general council president and became the party’s first female president with 500 votes, yesterday evening.

Dr Mifsud Bonnici and Dr Ian Castaldi Paris contested the elections, which opened the general council.

Dr Castaldi Paris garnered 253 votes from 753 valid votes. 871 councillors were eligible to vote but 761 actually voted. Eight votes were invalid.

Dr Mifsud Bonnci was visibly touched by the news and expressed her commitment to work closely with the party general secretary and the PN leader. She also promised to communicate closely with the PN’s grassroots.

Former PN president Victor Scerri had resigned following a controversial development in an outside development zone in Bahrija.

The Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi followed by secretary general Paul Borg Olivier and presidency candidates Dr Mifsud Bonnici and Dr Castaldi Paris initiated the voting at around 6pm. The voting ended at 8.30pm

In his opening speech general secretary Paul Borg Olivier said the PN would be renewing itself within a circle of development during this general council. He added that Budget 2010 should serve as a shield for jobs by incentives and job creation. He then introduced five areas that the council will discuss within workshops during the general council. The five areas are employment, consumer protection, education, health and environment. The five motions were discussed at executive level and in thirteen meetings held with the party's grass roots involving over 250 people, said Dr Borg Olivier. He reiterated what the Prime Minister had said, that renewing does not mean dismantling but reinforcing what the country's achievements. Economic renewal should be based on Malta's only resource - the human being.

On work the PN is proposing that the government and social partners work hand in hand to beat the recession and grasp opportunities. The country's target should be increasing the number of people who are gainfully occupied by encouraging women to join the workforce. The private sector should invest more in research, development and innovation to generate new jobs. This can be done by eliminating bureaucracy, reinforcing training programmes, empower early school leavers and aid the socially disadvantaged.

Turning on consumer protection the party insists that the government implements the electoral promise and budget 2010 measure of setting up an efficient authority that addresses the consumers' needs. Also the government should work towards disseminating information about market prices as a tool for consumers, counter threats that compromise market competition and enable monitoring to control unjustified prices that may leave a negative impact particularly on pensioners and low-income families.

The party is committed to reach the targets it set in terms of education. It strives to reinforce the new college state school system introduced last year and work towards having 85 per cent of young people continuing post-secondary education. It should also strive to open more varied courses at the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology and the University of Malta, strengthen the university's autonomy with finances, implement the special schools reform and explore creative initiatives to encourage lifelong learning including technology. PN encourages educators and parents view extra-curricular activities as a tool that develop the person as a whole and young people to take up opportunities

On health, the PN's priority is set on reducing the lengthy waiting lists for operations at Mater Dei Hospital by entering into agreements with the private sector. It also ensures that patients avail themselves of the latest medicines available and to start a scheme that helps families going through financial constraints brought about by extraordinary treatment. The party also believes that the government should invest in the regional polyclinics, that medical tourism could serve as an income to make health sustainable and that obesity and cardiovascular disease should be urgently addressed to reduce pressure from the healthcare system.

The nationalists are focusing on six areas concerning the environment: climate change, managing waste, energy, public works and eco-Gozo. Each individual should contribute towards conserving energy and the environment by making use of incentives that reduce consumption for the benefit of both the individual and the community. The party calls NGOs and environmentalists to remain being the forerunners in protecting the environment and sustainable development.

The general council shall end on Sunday.

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