The Malta Independent 25 August 2019, Sunday

Indepth: The Nationalist Party does not belong to its MPs – Dione Borg

INDEPTH online Friday, 14 June 2019, 09:45 Last update: about 3 months ago

An electoral campaign should be planned by a strategy team which is distinct from the parliamentary group, journalist Dione Borg said.

This week on Indepth, Editor-in-Chief Rachel Attard hosted Borg, a PN candidate for the last MEP election, and Executive Editor of MaltaToday Matthew Vella to discuss the situation the Nationalist Party finds itself in following its historic defeat in the recent elections.

When it was pointed out by the host that the previous guest, ex-President of the Executive Committee of the Nationalist Mark Anthony Sammut, had claimed that the PN's campaign team was composed of three people and shrouded in secrecy, Borg explained that every political party has its own strategy team which would not be made up of all the members of the parliamentary group.

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"This is because the whole parliamentary group with all the MPs would have their own commitments," he said.

He did accept that it was debatable as to whether the strategy team could have been bigger or smaller, adding that there had been a strategy team under every Nationalist Party leader.

"I have no doubt that (Prime Minister) Joseph Muscat is not discussing everything with the parliamentary group but with his strategy team," Borg maintained, adding that it was exactly how he believes things should be done.

The distinction between the operations of the parliamentary group and the party is not only one that is needed for Nationalist Party, but for democracy and society, he continued.

"That is why I am proposing to use this time until the end of the year (for the PN) to make these reforms - to then move forward as a different party in 2020."

Borg pointed out that when Muscat had an issue with the Secretary General of the time Jason Micallef, he simply removed the post and created a new position.

"Adrian Delia must strengthen the leadership team around him, or else he will have problems."

The Establishment and The Elite

In response to the idea of creating structures, Vella pointed out that it would be problematic considering that there is a situation in the Nationalist Party where a group of MPs "are having memories of the glory days" and thinking that "they have absolute power to command how the party must behave" - particularly when they cannot even accept the democratic decision of the party members.

"Until there is this conflict between what is being labelled the establishment or elite of the party and the others who give their support to Delia, then it will remain a problem for Delia even if he decides to restructure and create new spaces for new ideas."

Vella clarified with examples of where this has come up including when Delia had to make a decision on Simon Busuttil after Egrant, and Jean-Pierre Debono.

On the note of new leadership, he said that "one day that is what is going to have to happen", adding that he does not believe that Delia would be the Prime Minister of Malta, whilst conceding that anything can happen in Maltese politics.


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