The Malta Independent 26 June 2019, Wednesday

Election 2019: two pundits’ views

Jeremy Micallef Monday, 27 May 2019, 11:12 Last update: about 26 days ago

The Malta Independent spoke to two political pundits, Robert Musumeci and Jesmond Saliba for their views on election 2019 in its immediate aftermath. Here’s what they had to say

Robert Musumeci

On the one hand, Labour's outstanding performance continues to be primarily attributed to Muscat having dismantled the traditional model and created a symbiotic alliance between a very conspicuous Labour Party and a cohort of electors with different aspirations embodied in a so-called movement.

On the other hand, the PN should be judged for its performance during the past 10 years and not ever since Delia took office; 10 years during which the PN establishment has sought comfort in a hate blog designed to sow division and create 'enemies' in the process. Ironically, the last victim is Delia himself who is now expected to pay for the sins of this same establishment.

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Jesmond Saliba

I think the starting point of any analysis of such result should not just be the fact that the Labour Party won with a strong historic majority, but the fact that the last time the Nationalist Party won in a convincing manner was in 2003. That election was the culmination of a vision. Once it materialised, there was a failure to renew it.

Elections are not won on how strong an opposition is, but on how stronger the alternative presented is, to attract the majority to choose it.

Just as much as the electorate expects that the opposition keeps a government in check, just as much as the electorate expects that an opposition criticises, the electorate also expects an alternative, a vision which can aspire and inspire more than the one party in power.

The results since the 2004 election, show that once European membership was achieved and aspirations were met, the people wanted to move on to the next best thing, and electorally chose that. This wasn't coming from the Nationalist Party.

In addition to this, since 2008, the PN suffered from internal issues and divisions, which historically, never aided a party in opposition (vide Sant 1998- 2008).

The situation merits reflection, but not only. It requires serenity to reflect and address a number of issues which aren’t merely organisational, but bigger and wider. This serenity needs to be created both within and also on the boundaries of the party, to allow ‘soul searching’ and the courage to take those decisions required, even at statutory level, in a way that the aspiration of today’s and tomorrow’s Malta are met.

The Labour Party’s victory can’t be belittled as if it’s a show of egoism of people or the majority. Stating it, and even more believing it, offends the electorate. It also signals arrogance of underestimating the strategists within the Labour Party.

The full analysis of this result should not be just limited to the EP elections, but should extend also to the local council elections which took place on a national level. We'll know more about this on Wednesday, even though the turnout is indicative of what to expect.

Indications of who will be elected on the PN side also show that the Nationalist voter still expects the much 'damned' scrutiny which was often labelled as ‘treason’. However, to overcome this impasse, there is a need of ‘aspiration’. These were offered by those candidates who were fielded by the Labour Party.

There is also the need for decisions not to be taken hastily. A series of questions need to be asked frankly and serenely, and answered honestly. The issues are deep and as such merit deep analysis and a strategic approach.

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