The Malta Independent 8 May 2021, Saturday

The courage to hold a true and representative election is needed now

Claudette Buttigieg Thursday, 30 July 2020, 09:06 Last update: about 10 months ago

This opinion was co-written by PN MP Ivan Bartolo

The PN has been in this situation before and has managed to find the energy to take the necessary courageous decisions

This weekend, we are facing a watershed decision which will shape the future of the Party and of our country. We are asking our councillors to dig deep and take the courageous and bold step to call for a true and representative election for leader of the party.

The PN has been in this situation before. Like every organization after years of successfully leading the country, we are facing challenges that challenge our very own existence. It is from these tough times that we learn our greatest lessons, ones that provide us with a unique opportunity to reinvent ourselves and once again become a party for the people, representing as wide a spectrum as possible.


A trip back to 1977

Our councillors faced a similar dilemma back in 1977. Mintoff's Labour Party seemed invincible and the PN was a struggling force. Struggling to convince the people that the party had what it took to face the electorate and run the country. Back then, the PN Executive and councillors were just as scared, just as worried and just as concerned. It took the power of their convictions and strength of their belief in the PN to bring about a change and opt for a leadership vote. They did not sit on the sidelines and watch the party burn, losing support month on month.

On the contrary, they stood up to be counted. They chose courageously and allowed for a truly representative election. They delivered a new Leader for the party who had the energy to invest all his energy in regenerating the party. His enthusiasm and faith in the party inspired trust and fellowship which enabled him and his colleagues to turn back the tide and capture the imagination of the country like never before. His politics of persuasion and unity came at a crucial time for Malta and delivered historic results for the party and the country.

A leader that set the tone at the top

The 1977 election was not an easy one by any account. It was very hotly contested by strong and well-established candidates who were well-known for their dedication and integrity. It was a tough race which provided one winner who worked tirelessly to bring all sides together and unite the party. Behind a strong leader people forget their differences and unite for the greater good, and this is what our predecessors did. They united, hand in hand, month after month to reinvent the party because they truly believed Malta deserved better. They put aside their differences and rebuilt a party which was able to restore Malta's democracy and international standing. It is this same tight knit team that brought Malta out of the 80s with a renewed European vision, transforming our economy and society into a truly pluralistic and open one, the benefits of which we can still enjoy today. It took 24 years and electoral victories in 1987, 1996, 1998 and 2013 to deliver on this promise... and deliver they did.

The foresight and courage that our executive and councillors had in 1977 allowed for this and more. It allowed for a new and modern Malta to emerge from a dark period in our history. It all began with that historic leadership vote which opened up the PNs doors to radical reforms leading to inspiring a generation of Maltese and Gozitans to trust the party to rebuild their future.

History repeats itself

In what seems like a déjà vu for the party, our executive and councillors are once again faced with a watershed vote. The future of the PN hinges on tomorrow's and Saturday's votes. It hinges on one crucial question which will determine whether the PN will go for an open leadership race to redefine its future and once again inspire the electorate to follow us with a vision to rebuild our nation and restore our democracy. Only a wide and representative election amongst strong and credible candidates will be able to deliver a future worth of our past as a party.

The future is in our hands. The choice is clear. The road ahead presents us with options. Choosing the right road requires determination and courage as what we decide on Friday and Saturday will determine whether the party will spread its wings and embrace the challenges ahead or shrink further into the pages of history. Like our predecessors before us let us find this courage to act and act now as tomorrow may simply be too late.

It's up to you

Tomorrow and Saturday it's just you and the ballot sheet. The decision is yours. What will it be? Will you stand up and listen to the cries of our nation calling upon the party to regroup and unite behind a leader who could take us into the next decade? Or are you happy with the status quo? It's just you and your conscience this weekend. Will you take this step with us and tick the yellow box and once again make history and restore our party to where it should be? The choice is yours.




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