The Malta Independent 17 August 2022, Wednesday

TMID Editorial: 2022 elections and the challenges ahead

Tuesday, 11 January 2022, 08:14 Last update: about 8 months ago

The 2022 election will see two new party leaders face each other. Neither has contested a general election as leader of their party.

The past two years have seen a lot of changes made. Joseph Muscat was made to resign, Konrad Mizzi is no longer a Labour MP, though it is not known whether he still forms part of the Labour Party or not. The Police Commissioner was changed as was the Attorney General. Robert Abela seemingly tried to push aside those who were at the forefront of scandal pre-2020. And in this respect he has succeeded, and has even made legislative changes to the way certain important posts are filled.

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However he has not taken a hard-enough stance on dealing with scandals in general. Firstly, a number of MPs and indeed ministers who were subject to scandal are still PL MPs. While action was taken against some to remove them from their ministerial roles, others remained untouched. Edward Zammit Lewis is still a minister for instance and Rosianne Cutajar is still a PL MP. This means that part of the population still do not trust the Labour government to do what is right.

Bernard Grech meanwhile has tried to push new blood to the forefront of the party, something which he has indeed managed to do. The party is far more active than it had been, making many, many proposals for policy and legislation while also pressuring the government where needed. However, he has yet to really make any dent in the polls.

This is a problem which the PN seems to be unable to overcome, and something which it has been struggling with since 2013. The PN has seen some of its MPs also hit by scandal, with the most recent situation regarding David Thake seeing the MP suspend himself from the Parliamentary Group.

The PN’s reaction to when there is a scandal involving one of its own MPs is also different to when there is a scandal involving a PL MP, keeping in mind the length of time it took for Thake’s suspension from the news actually breaking for example. This is not to say that the PN is worse than the PL in this sense, as that is far from the case.

The leaders of both the PL and PN – Robert Abela and Bernard Grech – attack each other’s parties frequently when speaking.

Looking to the election that will take place sometime in 2022, it will likely see the two major parties bicker and insult each other. It will probably lead to the further polarisation of the electorate. Nothing shown so far seems to indicate that this will not be the case.

The Labour Party has the definite advantage in terms of votes, and they also have the power of incumbency. There have been calls to implement a public sector hiring freeze this year except for essential jobs but, let’s be honest, this is unlikely to happen.

The Nationalist Party doesn’t really have a chance of winning the election, but they could try and close the gap. The problem that the PN faces here is really getting people to trust it. While having brought in many new faces, sections of the population just don’t see the party as being able to lead the country successfully.

 

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