The Malta Independent 17 September 2019, Tuesday

TMID Editorial: Muscat and Delia interviews - The main points

Monday, 20 May 2019, 10:37 Last update: about 5 months ago

The Malta Independent on Sunday yesterday carried interviews with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Opposition Leader Adrian Delia.

While Delia has often accepted to be interviewed by this newsroom as well as others, Muscat’s interview was the first one he gave a newspaper in quite a while. In fact, the last time that Muscat had accepted to be interviewed by The Malta Independent was back in March 2016.

In his interview with this newsroom last week, the PM said he does not expect Labour to win the fourth seat in the European Parliament. His statement seems to contrast highly with opinion polls that show that Labour could clinch its biggest eletoral victory yet.

Muscat has been adamant in maintaining that the Labour Party is the ‘underdog’, arguing that every government goes into an election with a disadvantage. But history has shown this not to be the case with the Labour Party, which has enjoyed a resounding winning streak since 2013. There might be two reasons why the PM is making this statement. The first is that he is genuinely afraid that fewer Labourites will go out to vote, which is unlikely. The second is that, by telling his supporters that Labour’s popularity might drop, more voters than ever before will go out to exercise their democratic right, giving the PL its biggest winning margin yet.

During the interview, the PM also spoke about the many environmental initiatives that have been announced over the past few weeks. Many have said that Muscat has only discovered his love for the environment during the eletoral campaign. And, in all fairness, Labour’s track record on the environment is not exactly spotless. We sincerely hope that the PM stays true to his word even after Malta goes to the polls, an the environment keeps getting the importance that it deserves. We truly hope that this is not purely some election-eve gimmick.

One interesting point to come out from the interview with Adrian Delia, on the other hand, os the PN Leader’s confidence that the worst, when it comes to the so-called PN split, is now behind him. Delia told this newspaper that he has not had anything to worry about for quite some time now, and that support from his Parliamentary Group, which was, at one point, on the verge of rebellion, is growing week after week.

He did make it clear, however, that the Parliamentary Group is not the party, and this can be interpreted as a direct message to some of his detractors that they do not hold the power they think they do.

Delia was also asked about the recent blunder by PN MPs Herman Schiavone and Kristy Debono, who met with Yorgen Fenech, the alleged owner of 17 Black. Schiavone has submitted himself to an internal party investigation. Delia told this newsroom that the investigation is still ongoing, but could not say whether the result of the board investigation will be made public. We believe that, for the sake of transparency, the outcome of this investigation should be made public.

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