The Malta Independent 19 March 2019, Tuesday

Updated: Cassola resigns from AD in wake of abortion dispute; 'you're wrong', Cacopardo says

Sunday, 17 February 2019, 17:26 Last update: about 28 days ago

Former AD leader Arnold Cassola has quit the party in the wake of a feud over the party’s stand on abortion.

It is clear, he said in a letter to the party, that there are differences “between me and the executive committee” on the issue.

“I am totally against abortion unless the mother’s life is in jeopardy. Therefore it would be better for AD to be free to take decisions it deems fit without the hindrance of my minority stand”.

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“With sadness, I am hereby resigning from Alternattiva Demokratika. After 30 great years, my adventure with AD – which will remain in my heart – finishes here. From today onwards I will walk my political life on my own.”

This development follows an open letter leader Carmel Cacopardo wrote to Cassola in the afternoon, in which Cacopardo said that Cassola's position  was not one "that our party has never taken".

Cacopardo was replying to a statement issued by Cassola on Saturday, in which Cassola distanced himself from the position taken by AD EP candidate Mina Tolu in favour of abortion.

In a reply to the latest letter, Cacopardo told Cassola that he is wrong to say there are differences of opinion about abortion. The issue, Cacopardo says, is that Cassola "does not want to encourage public discussion on the issue. The party's position is what it was: against abortion. Everybody is annoyed that what you (Cassola) said and implied encouraged the perception that it is otherwise".

"It is unfortunate that you (Cassola) adopted this attitude," Cacopardo said. "This is a reflection of the great fear and taboo on the subject. We are fighting against this taboo. It is via discussion that we can ensure ourselves that everyone understands what is happening and will be able to form an opinion. After all, whatever we say, abortion is already presence and you know that the number of Maltese people who resort (to abortion) is as high as in Europe."

Cassola was arguably AD's most popular politician in spite of leaving the leadership after the 2017 election.

He had come close to being elected as an MEP in the 2004 election, being the last candidate to be eliminated.

Cassola will now be contesting the EP election as an independent candidate, with Cacopardo and Tolu to represent AD.

 

 

 

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