The Malta Independent 23 February 2020, Sunday

Busuttil proposes commission to lift PN out of financial crisis

Malta Independent Thursday, 2 May 2013, 12:08 Last update: about 7 years ago

PN leadership candidate Simon Busuttil said that one of his first priorities if he is elected leader, will be the setting up of a commission or task force to take stock of the party’s financial situation and give a number of recommendations on the way forward.

Speaking during his last news conference prior to next Saturday’s election, Dr Busuttil said that for now it would be premature for him to make further pronouncements on the PN’s financial crisis, which has hit hard its employees who have not received their salaries on time for the second month running.

Dr Busuttil said that from his meetings with party councillors during the last weeks it is evident that the PN has detached itself from the people. He said that he will do his utmost to turn the PN headquarters from a house to a home and create a sense of belonging which is nowadays absent.

The PN deputy leader who is widely tipped as the front runner in this race, remarked that the least that the councillors are expecting is that the party learns its lessons after such a historical landslide defeat.

Asked by The Malta Independent on his previous role a special envoy to civil society during the PN’s last year in government, Dr Busuttil said that this was a very useful exercise in the drafting of the electoral programme. However he conceded that it was too late in the day, to have an overall effect and bring the party closer to the people.

The PN deputy leader said that the legislature between 1998 and 2003 is a clear example that if the PN stays close to the people, it stands a very good chance of winning.

Dr Busuttil said that the party needs a new generation at the helm and less emphasis on its leader, unlike the 2008 election campaign whose slogan ‘GonziPN’ sums it all. He dismissed rumours that he has a particular preference for some people to be appointed in certain posts such as the proposed CEO of the party media, remarking that it will be up to the councillors to decide.

He said that councillors want an open and inclusive party, with a sense of belonging which has been absent for quite some time. Dr Busuttil said that the PN headquarters must be a home and not a house. Another overwhelming feeling among PN councillors is that there must be greater involvement of the grassroots in the drafting of policies.


Other commissions on party statute and candidates

Apart from the commission to lift up the PN from its financial crisis, Dr Busuttil outlined his proposals on other aspects which he believes are of utmost priority.

The PN deputy leader is proposing the creation of a commission to review the party statute through a consultation process involving members and sectional committees.

Another urgent area in need of attention is the selection of in which candidates. He said that the party must start preparing for next year’s European Parliament elections immediately, as it does not bode well when the party chooses its candidates on the eve of the election, as has been happening in recent years even in local council elections.

Dr Busuttil is pledging to set up a commission whose remit will be to oversee the selection of candidates, ensure that they possess the right political formation and are of good conduct.

Another proposal is to create a college of candidates and veteran MPs to ensure that retired MPs or unsuccessful candidates do not go in hibernation after the general election, but remain actively involved within the party.

Dr Busuttil also remarked that the PN needs to be in synch with society, and is thus suggesting the setting up of a commission made of up experts to give a sociological snapshot of society. This will be fundamental in drafting new policies.


A strong and credible opposition

The leadership candidate said that the ultimate aim is to make the PN a people's party once again. Dr Busuttil stressed that politics must be based on rational arguments and inclusivity. A strong and constructive opposition will make it credible, he said.

He added the PN must not be ashamed to support government in those cases when it feels that this is the right thing for the country. On the other hand he said that the opposition will not hesitate to make itself heard to highlight certain shortcomings, citing his recent criticism on Labour’s decision to allow Claudette Abela Baldacchino to contest the MEP casual elections even though she is facing fraud charges.

Dr Busuttil said that irrespective of the outcome the only winner will be the PN. He described the contest as a clean one and a sign of political maturity.


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