The Malta Independent 13 December 2017, Wednesday

Watch: Prime Minister says new manifesto superior to Taghna Lkoll, ‘this time we have experience’

Gabriel Schembri Friday, 19 May 2017, 20:10 Last update: about 8 months ago

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, concluding the extraordinary conference which approved the manifesto, said that through a unanimous vote, the party is set to implement its programme for the next years. "Should the public choose us, we have an ambitious road ahead. It will not be easy, but it is a road which will keep changing our country."

Dr Muscat said that this government has already proved that it can create wealth which is being distributed to all. "I, together with my colleagues, have led the best government. We led a government which provided the most jobs, helped persons with disability, led to best investment in the health sector."

He said he is proud to lead a government which provided the greatest leap in civil liberties. "It all starts with the economy, with trust. And we have managed to build this together."

The Prime Minister said that the government has managed to create trust in the government and that is why businesses were not afraid to invest. He said this positivity cannot be tarnished, despite all the attempts by adversaries.

"We will accomplish this dream together. This is clear plan, a plan that is costed but still not easy to implement. Our proposals are clear. If Taghna Lkoll manifesto has brought about change, the one we are presenting today, I dare say, is superior."

He said the works on this manifesto started four years ago. "It includes what we have learned from our mistakes, from the advantages and disadvantages we faced." Dr Muscat said that this new manifesto has a new element which was not present in the last one - experience.

Dr Muscat said that should the Opposition copy this manifesto word for word, the PN will not succeed, because PL has the credibility that it keeps its word. Work, he said, was the basis for this manifesto. "This is a movement which will remain pro-business. We can never close that door."

The manifesto includes huge infrastructural projects, like the 700 million euro investment for the resurfacing of all roads and the tunnel between Malta and Gozo, Dr Muscat added. "Physical mobility is important, but we have to focus on social mobility. We cannot leave anyone behind."

"I am proud of the results we have managed to achieve. Surplus and the fact that this government has managed to cut poverty by half, are among the most important."  

This programme will focus on the quality of life, he said while adding that the proposals are testimony to this. Dr Muscat said that there were instances in which he could have acted better. Governance is one of these sectors. He said party financing law was a step forward because this government wanted to address good governance issues.

Dr Muscat thanked Deputy Prime Minister Louis Grech for his service. He said that it is thanks to him that almost 90% of the manifesto is completed.

The Prime Minister has decided to take care of the implementation of the manifesto himself, Louis Grech will assist him.

Joseph Muscat said that this election has been instigated with a lie, "a lie on me, on my family. Perhaps I am the most hurt. But it is not my job to divide the country, but to unite it even further."

Labour Party President Daniel Micallef said that this government has m brought about a lot of social change. He said that a genuine party member had once told him not to campaign in favour of divorce. "But I looked him in the eye and told him that the party will remain in Opposition if it is not open to new ideas." He said that while the Labour Party has always moved forward, the PN Opposition tries to spin it and claim its' populism. Mr Micallef said that politics sometimes turns dirty and it is the personal and familiar attacks which discourage him.

Micallef thanked Louis Grech for his service, as the crowd, together with PL candidates, stood in a standing ovation. 

Lydia Abela, the PL executive secretary introduced the conference by saying that the manifesto is the result of what was already achieved in four years thanks to a PL government.

She said the PL campaign was positive based on unity and love. Dr Abela said that Simon Busuttil was caught off guard and that is why he presented proposals which were not properly planned or costed. She praised the government for the success in the economy and civil liberties, among other things.

"The choice is either Simon Busuttil, who will tarnish our reputation, or Joseph Muscat, who will do anything in his power to protect our reputation", she said as the people in front of her clapped. 

Shania Micallef, a transgender, thanked the Prime Minister for all the courage he gave to the transgender people, among others. "I used to be afraid of going to places where I needed to show my ID card. Nowadays things changed. Now I am recognised as a woman." She said for her, Joseph Muscat is more than a Prime Minister, "he is a father that has helped me reborn."

Amanda Briffa has celebrated Mother's Day for the first time, thanks to the introduction of IVF. She said the procedure costed some €15,000.  The first attempt failed, but a second one proved successful. She said the procedure was efficient and the support provided was much better than that provided abroad. "Thanks to this government, today I can hold an 11 month old baby in my arms."

Dr Mark Sant, a consultant and head of the IVF department at Mater Dei, said that he had made attempts to speak to the Shadow Minister for Health but failed because, after postponing the appointment, Ms Buttigieg never approached him. "What I realised is that the PN, when discussing issues which do not affect a lot of people and which will not affect the votes, it does not take things seriously."

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