The Malta Independent 28 May 2023, Sunday
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PL deputy leader hopefuls debate core messages ahead of election

Sunday, 9 July 2017, 15:08 Last update: about 7 years ago

Labour Party (PL) deputy leader hopefuls took part in a tame debate this morning on the party’s radio station in the run-up to the election that will be taking place this Thursday.

The 90-minute debate included Ministers Helena Dalli, Chris Fearne and Edward Scicluna, who really tried to deliver their individual messages to the PL delegates who will be ultimately casting their vote on who they want to see fill the post.


The voting will take place on Thursday and Friday, and should there be a run-off this will spill over into Saturday.

Deputy Leader for Parliamentary Affairs would see one of the three hopefuls be made deputy prime minister by default.

Dalli, Fearne and Scicluna all highlighted the friendly nature of the debate and were sure to mention that each contender is relevant and capable. It would appear that the PL’s message of positivity is also being pushed by the contenders.

Fearne was the only leader to avoid concretely responding on whether he has future plans to contest the PL leadership. Dalli and Scicluna both replied in the negative when asked the question.

Journalists invited to ask questions to the debate hailed from TVM, MaltaToday and Union Print.

While an internal election within a party is in no way comparable to local council or general elections, due to the difference in nature and accompanied difference in style, candidates still could not hold back form delivering subtle jibes towards each other.

They all expressed their unwavering loyalty to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and took great lengths to remind the delegates of their long history within the Labour Party and their ongoing work to help the cause.

Equality and EU Minister Helena Dalli stressed that she has been with the party for as long as she was able to, despite whatever stage she was in in her personal life or whatever was going on in Malta.

She advocated gender quotas and also stressed that should she be elected, she would ensure that all the delegates constantly informed on the implementation of the party’s manifesto.

Dalli said that having helped to create the manifesto, keeping the delegates informed is not only right but essential, calling them the backbone of the party.

Health Minister Chris Fearne spoke of how he had tied his political career with that of Joseph Muscat by accepting his offer to endorse him back in 2008, when Muscat was contesting Party leader.

He backed the idea of gender quotas, and also went around a question on whether comments made in an interview had been an indirect jibe at district rival Minister Konrad Mizzi. In an interview, Fearne had said that he credibility was never marred by any disconcerting allegations.

Fearne said that any rivalry between the two is totally understandable in view of Malta’s district system, adding however that he has a very good working relationship with his Parliamentary colleagues.

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna targeted all those delegates who would ordinarily vote for outgoing deputy leader Louis Grech by using several arguments that he was the one to elect to ensure continuity.

He continually spoke of being a veteran within the party, and how many younger MPs look to him for guidance as was the case with Louis Grech.

Scicluna stressed that his competence, experience and loyalty where all key factors to consider when delegates cast their vote.

He also quelled any rumours that he is vying for a European Commissioner post.

Scicluna concluded by saying that he is confident of the contribution he could deliver to Prime Minister Muscat, having the experience and know-how to step in should the Prime Minister every need him to.


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