The Malta Independent 21 May 2018, Monday

Editorial: Will it be an Autumn election?

Monday, 20 March 2017, 09:15 Last update: about 2 years ago

There has been a marked change these past two weeks.

Two weeks ago, we were all agog about the EU Presidency, with so many high-level meetings in Malta and comings and goings.

Then, almost all of a sudden, the mood changed and we are now definitely in an election mode.

Many have interpreted this as being caused by the after-effects of the terrible week of the db revelations and later the db-Mario de Marco revelations which caused a civil war inside PN.

The government, always very alert to such opportunities changed the mood music to a more warlike beat and the rhetoric to a more electioneering one, with Prime Minister Muscat on Saturday promising us not just a more of the same but  actually moving Malta to a higher plane - that of a cosmopolitan island.

Now it is almost unthinkable to visualize our country living in this strident atmosphere for a whole year, which is one reason why some are beginning to suspect we may be going to the polls earlier than the March 2018 deadline, maybe even in Autumn.

Basically, it would seem the government senses that the Opposition, as this paper remarked last week, is disunited and has serious internal issues to tackle. It may also sense that this internal crisis within the PN is not easily resolved and certainly not in this strict timeline.

Successive opinion polls, which no doubt will be intensified over the coming months, have shown that Dr Muscat continues to get more popular support than Dr Busuttil, regardless of the latter's efforts.

All the signs say the economy is doing well - unemployment is down to record lows, and credit agencies are full of praise of the country's economy. A number of public works are on track to being finished by the end of this year, the Kappara Junction upgrade first of all. And other projects are about to begin.

People in the construction field say they cannot keep up with work, which may also explain why certain road works have fallen back.

And perhaps more importantly, beneath the horizon, jobs are being offered to anyone who would want them. Yesterday's story about 150 jobs on offer at Water Services is just one example. There are many others.

As the election gets near, so too will the tempo of what goes for political discourse in the country. Will it be a confrontational election campaign or will common sense and national purpose finally triumph?

Will we get more scandals on this weekly basis or will there be a serious discussion on the many and important issues which our country is facing? Will our political leaders act responsibly or will they be influenced by narrow, partisan, maybe personal, reasons?

In all of this, from here to election, the people will be sovereign. Every person with his or her vote will have a decisive influence on the result. When we queue to vote, the person in front of you and the person behind you have exactly the same power that you have. They may have their own personal take on issues but then again they may have their own very personal and original opinion. They may be susceptible to spin but then again they may be impervious to being led by the nose.

The coming months will show us.

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