The Malta Independent 25 May 2020, Monday

Indepth: ‘New PM must immediately start working on restoring country’s reputation’

INDEPTH online Thursday, 9 January 2020, 16:08 Last update: about 5 months ago

If the new Prime Minister decides, from day one, to brush aside everything that has happened in December, it will ultimately ruin the country’s reputation, MaltaToday online editor Kurt Sansone said on Indepth. 

Sansone and Andy Ellul, lawyer and legal advisor to the government, were interviewed by The Malta Independent Media Consultant Rachel Attard, focusing on the Labour party leadership election. Around 17,000 members will be choosing between Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne and MP Robert Abela. The winner will also be the country’s next Prime Minister. 

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“For the person taking up the post in Castille on Monday, it does not make sense to change the economic direction, but we also cannot brush aside what happened in December,” Sansone said.

He added that the new Prime Minister must, from his first day in office, address the current situation. “This will have repercussions on our island’s reputation, which will affect our economy,” Sansone said. 

“We are not in a normal situation, and if this is not addressed, this wish for continuity will not happen and the reputation and the economy will be affected.”

Andy Ellul said that people wished for continuity and to build on the successes Malta has experienced over the past six years.

“Continuity is essential; one needs to put aside what happened in December, although we can never erase history, we need to look at the continuity which happened in the past six years. We have seen improved social benefits, economic growth and unemployment becoming non-existent. The people want continuity.”

When asked who they believe will win the leadership contest, Sansone said that his ‘gut feeling’ is that Fearne can make it. “It is hard to say, as things can change by the hour.” 

Ellul preferred to not comment as he did not wish to influence those who will be listening. “I have faith in both candidates and after Sunday we will see our party coming together again.”


 

Earlier


According to Andy Ellul, a legal advisor to the Government and paid member of the Labour Party, the PL has always been the underdog. He said the independent media is always first to pick on the party's mistakes.

"That is how it is. A number of newspapers who call themselves independent are actually not, and I will not give examples. We have had many examples of fake news throughout the past few months, and a number of journalists and media houses have lost their respect as they rushed to attack the Labour Party, and we need to accept this fact."

Ellul was being interviewed on Indepth, alongside Kurt Sansone, online editor of MaltaToday by The Malta Independent Media Consultant Rachel Attard. The programme discussed the election to choose a new Labour leader and Prime Minister. On Saturday, around 17,000 Labour Party members and delegates will be voting for either Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne or PL MP Robert Abela.

This was not the first time the term 'underdog' was mentioned during the leadership campaign - Abela himself told his supports that he was the underdog in this election.

Ellul stressed that the government needs to remain open to the media and also work with foreign journalists to clear up the damage the country has suffered.

"When a political party, whether in government or in opposition, ends up with its back to the wall, the easiest way to get out of trouble is to use the media as a punching bag," Sansone replied to Ellul's statement.

He stressed that the media is not perfect, and comes with a number of defects and at times certain journalists not doing their work properly. "Let's not ignore the facts; the Panama Papers were published by a journalist but the decision on what to do with Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri was taken by the Prime Minister, three years later. Can you blame the media for the situation he now finds himself in?"

Sansone said Malta finds itself in an uncomfortable situation and it is a "cheap shot" to blame the independent media for this.


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