The Malta Independent 20 November 2018, Tuesday

Nationalist Party MPs to vote in favour of gay marriage

Gabriel Schembri Sunday, 25 June 2017, 10:38 Last update: about 2 years ago

The Nationalist Party will be voting in favour of the gay marriage bill, the Opposition Leader announced this morning.

Speaking in an interview on the party's radio station, Simon Busuttil said that the law which introduces gay marriage is controversial but it barely changes the rights which were introduced in the civil union bill. Busuttil said that the PN had abstained from voting and said that three years ago, the rights given were already in par with marriage.

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He understands that this is a delicate matter for some and for the party, and the PN is accepting that this is a reality. The PN will be voting in favour after an agreement within the parliamentary group, Busuttil said. He said there are things which need amending but in essence, there is a general agreement.

On his resignation from PN leader, Busuttil said that his decision is a reflection of what he believes in, on sense of maturity and good governance. "I felt that I had to step down, because this is what should happen when you lose. You bow down and leave."

"You don't only speak of principles and values, but you have to act accordingly."

He said that should the party have lost with a lower number of votes, he might have had to take a different decision. Simon Busuttil said that despite being in transition, he has the duty to offer continuity and to show that the party is still relevant.

Busuttil said that simply because the PN has lost the last general election does not mean that there should be no opposition. "Let's not forget that the PN in Opposition has managed to bring about an early election and forced the Prime Minister to call in the public to vote."

He thanked Marlene and Godfrey Farrugia, and referred to this week's decision to invite PD MPs to the PN parliamentary group meetings.

He said the opposition voted in favour of Anglu Farrugia as speaker, despite that the party was not consulted.  

Busuttil explained that the general council will meet on Wednesday, to decide on the process which will elect the new leadership of the party.

The nominations will open on 17 July. The Party's Executive Council will meet again in September to shortlist two people for leadership. On 16 September, an internal election will take place.

He also commented on the independent inquiries surrounding Keith Schembri, Konrad Mizzi and the infamous third company in Panama, Egrant. Busuttil said that the fact that Joseph Muscat won the election does not wash away the sins of the Prime Minister.

"The PN will keep on following these cases and will make sure justice prevails," he said.  

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