The Malta Independent 8 August 2020, Saturday

Robert Abela fails to live up to TMI interview promise

Saturday, 11 January 2020, 09:01 Last update: about 8 months ago

Labour MP Robert Abela, one of the two contenders for the post of PL leader – and that of Prime Minister – has failed to live up to his word.

On Tuesday, Abela had agreed to give an interview to The Malta Independent. Since then, this newsroom has sent him requests to be interviewed on the programme Indepth and also for the newspaper.

Abela failed to reply to both invitations. With the leadership election taking place today, there is no more time left.

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Abela has been reluctant to speak to sections of the media since announcing that he will contest for the PL leadership. Bizarrely, he launched his campaign without inviting the media, and only held a press conference the day after during which he said he had no problem confronting journalists.

Yet his behaviour since has not been open to parts of the media. Apart from The Malta Independent, other newsrooms complained that Abela was shunning them.

Then, last Tuesday, Abela was approached by a TMI journalist in Mellieha. “We will agree on a day,” he said, adding that he had no problem with the interview. Yet, asked to be given an appointment, Abela failed to answer.

On Friday, Abela failed to turn up to a previously accepted invitation for an event in which businessmen were invited to pose questions to the two contestants. The other candidate, Chris Fearne, accepted and attended, but Abela pulled out of the event the night before.

Abela has accepted to be interviewed by pro-Labour media as well as the national television station, but has been reluctant to face the harder questions from journalists working for the independent media.

He gave an ominous explanation on Xarabank, saying that he was “keeping his distance intentionally to be free to take all decisions that are needed.”

In our editorial on Wednesday, we raised concern about this statement and gave a list of questions that we would like Abela to answer, but we have not been given the chance.

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