The Malta Independent 21 January 2020, Tuesday

TMID Editorial: Malta’s next leader - Fearne vs Abela…vs Delia

Monday, 9 December 2019, 09:45 Last update: about 2 months ago

The die is cast, and thus far is seems that Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne, and PL MP Robert Abela are set to go head-to-head in a contest for the leadership of the Labour Party, and of the country.

Meanwhile, the outgoing Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is busy visiting localities waving to crowds of his cheering die-hard supporters as he remains the focal point of those angry with the country’s current political turmoil, who are calling for his immediate, rather than delayed, resignation.

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A survey published by MaltaToday revealed some interesting statistics about the leadership race.

Firstly, Fearne is likely to have more support in a contest with Adrian Delia than Robert Abela would. However, the snapshot also reveals that more trust Abela than Delia. In both instances, Delia is weak.

Indeed never in recent years has the country been so angry with the current state of affairs. Never has the government been under such heavy scrutiny. People took to the streets, pelted Labour MPs with eggs. People marched in great numbers down Republic Street calling for Muscat’s immediate resignation… and the PN Leader has still not managed to come close to the trust rating of even the two PL party contenders.

Delia is going to have an uphill struggle. He needs to do something now, but therein lies the question… what can he do?

Indeed it seems as though whoever the PL elects as its next leader will have a guaranteed win in the next election, and thus the onus is on them to choose wisely.

Whoever the next leader will be must not continue to pick their friends over the country. He must be strong in his convictions, and fight against those who would with to benefit personally over the good of the country. The time to befriend big business to the detriment of everyone else is over.

Fearne is looking to be ahead, having more trust in a contest with Delia than Abela would. It is also known that Fearne is close to the delegates. However Abela must not be counted out. Indeed he comes from a strong lineage of Labour politicians, with his father having been a PL stalwart and past President of the country.

This race might seem civil above the surface, but Abela has already fired the first shot. Robert Abela had made a scathing attack on what he described as a “devilish” pact which would sell out the country, the Labour Party and its genuine supporters. He had said that he is not ready to participate “in any devilish pact through which I would buy some comfortable seat for myself, and sell out the country, the Labour Party, and genuine Labourites under the veil of the false excuse of unity.” Indeed this might have been in reference to Ian Borg not contesting and backing Fearne for the leadership post.

Regardless, whoever wins will be in a strong position.

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