The Malta Independent 14 July 2020, Tuesday

TMID Editorial: Politics - Labour ahead, in spite of scandals

Wednesday, 24 June 2020, 08:43 Last update: about 19 days ago

Surveys continue to show that the Labour Party remains steadily ahead of the Nationalist Party, and it is a foregone conclusion that it will win a third election in a row. New Prime Minister Robert Abela has a trust rating which is by far better than that of his political rival, Adrian Delia.

This is all happening in spite of a string of scandals which have hit the Labour government now for several years, starting off with the Panama Papers, which was followed by the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and the resultant implications that the Office of the Prime Minister was linked with the crime.

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The more recent happenings in the courts of law, where proceedings against four men accused of playing a part in the Bidnija murder are taking place, further expose how much then Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and people close to him knew what was going on. But the resignations of Muscat himself, Minister Konrad Mizzi and now Chris Cardona have not even dented Labour's chances. And, we believe, not even the latest reports regarding the Montenegro wind-farm deal will leave a negative impact on Labour's popularity.

Why is it that the Labour Party's position remains so strong? The easy answer to this is that the Nationalist Party is weak, disunited and not credible, and that therefore Labour can effortlessly coast to victory by default.

But there is more to it than this. Although the PN's troubles are an asset to the Labour Party, there are other aspects of our political and social life that give Robert Abela a helping hand. First of all, the economy is doing well, and when people have money in their pockets, they tend to give little importance to everything else. It must be admitted that over the past seven years, Labour has succeeded in taking the country forward and improving people's quality of life.

When a crisis like the Coronavirus hit, Malta was in a steady position. The government could come up with financial packages and other initiatives that sustained an economic sector that found itself hard-pressed as shops, bars and restaurants closed, and travelling in and out of the country was temporarily banned. Maybe the ill effects of Covid-19 are still to be fully absorbed, and one has also to see how, economically speaking, the country will recover from the pandemic, but as things stand now people are still in a positive mood. Ideas like the voucher scheme and the income tax refund are ways to appease the people, and Labour makes good use of them.

The Maltese then, like their Mediterranean counterparts, tend to turn a blind eye (if not two) to anything to do with corruption. It's as if we collectively accept it as part of our system, our way of life. Except for a limited sector of the population which makes its voice heard each time something crops up, the rest of the population does not give it a lot of thought. And it certainly does not affect the way most people vote. For many, corruption is not a factor on which they base their electoral choices. So long as they're alright, nothing else matters.

The election needs to be held within the next two years; some say it will happen a lot sooner. Like those of 2013 and 2017, it will go Labour's way.

 

 


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