The Malta Independent 19 June 2021, Saturday

TMID Editorial: Nationalist Party – Therese’s choice

Thursday, 10 June 2021, 09:16 Last update: about 9 days ago

Therese Comodini Cachia’s decision not to contest the coming general election leaves a hole in the Nationalist Party.

First of all, it is contradictory to the efforts being made by the PN to have veteran MPs moving out of the political scene to make way for newer, fresher candidates.

Comodini Cachia is relatively new to the political arena. She was elected for the first time in the last general election in 2017, and then had been a late entry to the PN list as she was pushed into the fray following the last-minute withdrawal of Tonio Fenech, which left a gap in the eighth district.

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She had been elected to the European Parliament in 2014, and was not too pleased to have to give up the more lucrative post in the EP, given her reaction after she was one of the three PN candidates to make it. Initially, she had said that she was giving up her seat in the Maltese Parliament to retain the one in Brussels, only to reverse her decision hours later following public outcry and accusations of “betraying” the people who voted for her in the general election.

Comodini Cachia had however been quick to recover from this faux-pas, and had been immediately considered by many as one of the few bright sparks in a PN line-up that was largely made up of MPs who had already been part of the 2008-2013 Gonzi government with all its tribulations. Her legal knowledge and her political argumentation skills were a welcome asset to a party that had otherwise remained embroiled in internal struggles that caused more harm than good.

Comodini Cachia was deeply involved in these disputes. She had been chosen by the anti-Adrian Delia rebels as their preferred choice for the post of Opposition Leader. It was the culmination of a string of moves by PN MPs who never accepted the choice made by the PN general council to appoint Delia as party leader, soon after Simon Busuttil had resigned following the massive defeat at the polls in 2017.

But Comodini Cachia soon realised that her nomination had been a stop-gap solution for the group that wanted to oust Delia. When this move failed after President George Vella ruled that the Constitution was unclear as to what steps could be taken when the majority of MPs wanted to remove the party leader, Comodini Cachia was quickly discarded by the rebels who then selected Bernard Grech as “their” contestant to fight against Delia in the party leadership race.

This attempt worked, as Grech beat Delia, but it was certainly a major disappointment for Comodini Cachia, who must have felt betrayed and used by her colleagues. She realised that she was politically expendable for her colleagues. They first rolled out the red carpet for her when she appeared to be the least controversial option for the post of Opposition Leader, but then pulled it from under her feet when she was no longer needed.

This situation was possibly the origin of her thoughts to reconsider her future in politics, and which could have ultimately led her to decide not to put her name forward for the next general election.

The PN has lost one of the best minds it had.

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