The Malta Independent 14 July 2020, Tuesday

TMID Editorial: Nationalist Party - A myriad of problems

Tuesday, 23 June 2020, 08:33 Last update: about 20 days ago

The Nationalist Party was once a strong political party, yet has, over the past years, been reduced to a mere shadow of what it once was.

Normally, when a country faces so many years of controversy given the sheer number of scandals, an opposition party would gain strength. Yet the PN has not. This something that needs to be deeply analysed.

Recent surveys show the Labour Party way ahead in the polls, despite the outrage and uproar last Christmas that toppled a Prime Minister.

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The only logical explanation for this is that the PN does not only have a trust problem, but a confidence problem. People do not trust the PN, possibly due to the distrust that existed prior to 2013 by some sections of then PN supporters. But the bigger problem the party faces is that the people are not confident in their ability to run a country. An Opposition party that people cannot picture successfully at the helm, will not be elected to govern.

Adrian Delia was elected back in 2017, but clearly has made no inroads with the electorate. PN Secretary General Francis Zammit Dimech called him an asset to the party, yet the polls show otherwise. Yes Delia was elected by the tesserati, but let’s face facts, with him as leader the PN is going nowhere but down. The country will elect its leaders, not the tesserati.

Now with or without Delia, the PN also needs to face the reality that the next election is already lost. But electing a new leader sooner rather than later could give added time to a new person to kickstart the party’s engines.

The country has performed very well economically, which is why many people support Labour in spite of scandals. The PL must not, however, continue to tread in such muck and clean itself up as there is only so much people can take. The PN will need to come up with a strategy to compete with the PLs economic one, while not selling out its principles.

There is also the infighting within the PN which plays a problem. Delia has tried to unite the party, yet has failed. Without a united party, the PN will only grow weaker, but those who oppose Delia within the PN have their own supporters, so those people crying out to get rid of them will be shooting the party in the foot, given its already weak standing in the local political scene. The PN needs a new leader who can bring both sides together, but not just a compromise candidate for the sake of having one, a real leader who people can believe in. Without one, the party will be destined to remain in opposition.

At the same time, the PN does have a two weights two measures problem. Calls were made for an internal investigation into Adrian Delia, following bribery allegations that had emerged, however no such call was made for Karol Aquilina and the driving incident allegations. An internal inquiry should be called for both, and should take place for both.

Financially speaking, the PN is in worse shape than the PL. This means that the party will need to come up with more creative ways of getting its message out to the public. This would require an injection of new ideas in terms of communications strategy, which is perhaps something the party should focus on.

The PN is currently changing the party statute, but this will not be enough. The party needs strong leadership, united leadership, leadership that can encourage the people and gain trust and confidence. This is not an easy feat, and will require years of work.

 

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