The Malta Independent 22 September 2021, Wednesday

TMID Editorial: Politics - The race ahead

Monday, 26 July 2021, 06:40 Last update: about 3 months ago

“The PN’s goal must be to win the general election.” This was a statement made by the president of the party’s General Council, Mark Anthony Sammut.

Realistically speaking, the odds of the PN winning are very, very slim. The surveys have shown that the gap between the Labour Party and the Nationalist Party is massive.

In order to work towards that goal, the party needs to somehow start winning over voters. Now, many changes are happening within the party, in terms of changes in top posts. Perhaps new faces could do what the others could not.

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But questions still remain… are these changes coming too little too late? After all, the election is just around the corner. Will these people really be able to change things within the party? Can the PN supporters who followed Adrian Delia and are still angry at the way he was ousted be brought back into the fold?

It will not be an easy year for the PN. New faces could possibly devise a new strategy and improve the way the party communicates with voters. After all, it is no secret that the Labour Party is far better at getting its message across.

The Labour Party has been very, very good at painting the PN in whatever light it wants, and getting people to listen to it will be a challenge in itself.

The surveys also show trust issues between the two leaders, with many more trusting Robert Abela than Bernard Grech. This will not be an easy thing to overcome for Grech. While he has not been in his position for a year, so close to an election there is no room for error.

Robert Abela, on the other hand, was thrown in the deep end just as he took over when Covid-19 hit. He inherited a country with a reputation that was in tatters due to his predecessor’s handling of the country. Despite the government still including many who were part of Muscat’s government and the role Abela held during that period, it seems that many who had switched to Labour have no interest of switching back.

Abela has not handled the pandemic perfectly. Indeed he has flopped on a number of occasions – lets not forget the waves are in the sea comment – but at the same time, the country is still afloat, unemployment is down and Malta is top in the percentage of vaccinations. Those facts, for many, means he has been successful. Let’s also add that the health authorities have done a very good job.

One factor which could have an impact on things is Malta’s greylisting by the FATF. The effects of that situation are yet to be felt. Of course, the issues that brought Malta into this situation did not occur while Abela was Prime Minister, but while his predecessor was. At the same time however, many people who were in Muscat’s government are in the current government too. Abela implemented many reforms in the country which were for the better, but trust in the country by the international community could be an issue.

The FATF situation could impact high-end jobs, which in turn, could affect the pockets of many.

It will be a rocky last leg to an election. No date has been set, yet there is so much speculation out there. The PN needs to work on gathering support, while the government which has a majority of support already, needs to work on keeping the country stable through the rough seas Malta is currently passing through.

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