The Malta Independent 17 December 2018, Monday

TMID Editorial: PN and PD - Unite, don’t fight

Saturday, 1 December 2018, 10:15 Last update: about 15 days ago

We are normally used to seeing the government and the Opposition engaged in constant battle, both in Parliament and outside. These past few months however, we have seen the scenario change, with a harsher war being waged between the two Opposition parties.

That the ‘new’ Nationalist Party and Partit Demokratiku do not have the best of relationships is not a secret. What was once a proud alliance aimed at fighting the Labour government’s corruption is now viewed by the current PN leadership as a failed experiment and a toxic relationship.

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The current leadership made it clear right from the start that it wanted nothing to do with PD, despite all the drama that we witnessed before the election. We all remember the teary moment Godfrey Farrugia walked into Dar Centrali to be embraced by an equally emotional David Agius. The same Agius is now Deputy Leader in a party that wants nothing to do with Farrugia or the PD. Back then, the drama was politically convenient. Today it is obviously not.

Delia himself, and the PN Secretary General, Clyde Puli, have also made it amply clear that the PN wants to go it alone.

Yet the fact is that there are two parties sitting on the Opposition benches, and they are clawing at each other when the government should be their common target.

Partit Demokratiku, which also turned against Delia the moment allegations were made by Daphne Caruana Galizia, has also proved to be an unwilling coalition partner.

Recently, PD started using harsher rhetoric, accusing Delia of colluding with the corrupt government. This week it even went as far as to compare him with Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar and his infamous fenkata.

Both parties are playing this out wrong.

PD seems to be firing more salvoes against the PN than against the government. While its criticism against the Nationalist Party might be justified, the manner in which it is doing it is wrong. Its heavy approach will only serve to antagonize nationalists even more, reinforce the belief that the pre-2017 election Forza Nazzjonali was a sham and ensure that the two opposition parties never see eye to eye. Criticising Delia is one thing, insulting him is another kettle of fish entirely.

On the other hand it is clear that the PN refuses to even acknowledge the PD. The party wants nothing to do with PD, not even when the orange party proposes very valid motions.

In our view, the PN is making a big strategic mistake in not supporting a motion of no confidence, filed by the PD, against Konrad Mizzi. We believe the PN is doing this simply because it does not want to give any credit to PD. This is wrong.

The PN has pushed for a debate on the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia on 6 December – the same date on which the PD wants it no confidence motion debate.

We believe that both debates are very important. However, the PN should not overlook the importance of the motion proposed by PD, especially after the 17 Black revelations and now the damning NAO report.

As a result, the Konrad Mizzi motion has been pushed back more than six weeks. By then, all the hullaballoo about Mizzi will have died down – an opportunity lost. The debate has to happen now.

We are not saying that the debate on Daphne Caruana Galizia is not important. Far from it. But, from a political point of view, this is the time to strike against Mizzi.

Instead of fighting a bitter war against each other, PN and PD should support each others’ motions. Why not have two debates instead of just one? Why not collaborate, instead of undermining each other?

All this bickering, name calling and stonewalling will only serve to make the government stronger.

 

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