The Malta Independent 24 October 2021, Sunday

TMID Editorial: Political rallies - What the parties are promising

Wednesday, 22 September 2021, 08:16 Last update: about 2 months ago

Both the Nationalist Party and the Labour Party held mass political rallies on Monday evening, on the eve of Independence Day, and both parties pledged very different things.

Prime Minister and Labour Leader Robert Abela essentially promised continuity: more infrastructural projects, reforms and generation of wealth in the years to come.

PN and Opposition Leader Bernard Grech promised change: a change in the way we do things, a cleaner, more honest way of doing politics.

As the general election looms, both parties pledged to go down very different paths, and the electorate will have a tough choice when it comes to who should lead the government in the coming five years.

Speaking in Ta’ Qali, Abela said a national debate on an underground metro system will soon start. Hinting that the election will not be taking place any time soon, Abela said there are still nine months to this legislature, and the government plans on doing much more before the time comes.

The next budget, he said, will not introduce new taxes, and pensioners will get an increase in their income. He also hinted that an electoral reform is in the offing. In comments reminiscent of his predecessor Joseph Muscat, Abela argued that the PN is all about negativity, whereas Labour is all about improving the quality of people’s lives.

Addressing a different crowd some distance away in Floriana, Bernard Grech promised not only to bring about positive change, but also to do things in a very different way. While the PN will still attract investment to Malta, he said, a Nationalist government would take a very different approach. “We should be attracting companies like Google and Facebook to invest in Malta, not people like Ram Tumuluri or Sadeen,” he declared. “We will attract money and work, but not dirty money.”

While focusing a good chunk of his speech on the proposals the party has unveiled in recent days, many of which, he said, have been “copied” by Labour, Grech also spoke at length about the effects of the recent FATF grey listing. He also said that, while some people have been prosecuted on money laundering, the “big fish” always get away. He also claimed that Abela is led by the nose by his predecessor.

While the election date has not yet been announced, it is clear that both parties have gone fully into election mode. The events held on Sunday, particularly the Labour event in Ta’ Qali, which included an hour-long music show, are typical of an election campaign.

Both leaders have started aggressively lobbying for votes, and they are likely to keep up the tempo in the coming months.

Eventually, we will be asked to make a choice, and it will not be an easy one. It is a choice between a party that has done well economically, despite a global pandemic, but whose name remains tarnished by the actions and inactions of its recent leaders, and a party that is still struggling in popularity ratings, but which promises to clean up Malta’s dirtied reputation.

Ultimately, it is all about which party will manage to convince the most.


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