The Malta Independent 17 July 2024, Wednesday
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‘The people expect more from us, better from us,’ Prime Minister Robert Abela says

Sunday, 16 June 2024, 12:52 Last update: about 30 days ago

'The people expect more from us, better from us,' Prime Minister Robert Abela said, analysing the message sent by the electorate in the elections on Saturday week.

Prime Minister Robert Abela addressed a political event in Cospicua, where the Labour Party won all five local council seats. While winning all five seats in this locality, the vote gap between it and the Nationalist Party in the country reduced to around 20,000 votes when compared to the 2019 local council elections. In the MEP elections, the gap reduced to 8,400 votes when compared to 2019.

His speech on Sunday was focused on the message sent by the people throught he electoral result, and, unlike speeches in the lead up to the election itself, there was no mention of "the establishment" which Abela believed was working in secret against the Labour Party.

During his speech, Abela spoke about reflecting on the message sent by the people in the MEP and local council elections. "There was one thing in common, a sign that the people want the PL to lead the country, but that they also want the PL to better respond to priorities."

"It is a clear message, just as it is clear that society is not only changing, but is changing at a quick pace. Many people today don't vote for one party or another, but vote for what they believe are the country's priorities and choose who they believe will be offering the best for the country."

He said that the PL accepts the sovereignty of the people. "We always respect it. Respect is shown by how you act, not only how you talk. The biggest principle I believe we need to establish today is whether we will have the courage to bring the change the country is asking us to bring."

"I could have come here today and made an analysis, speaking about what I believe the main messages from the electoral result are, and could also stay talking about what the causes are as to why the PL did not receive the same majority it did two years ago. I am also convinced you have your own understandings. Over the past days I had the opportunity to receive many messages from people, where everyone put forward their opinions. All of them were valid."

"They are also proof of how the people are interested in the country, that they have that love to continue moving their country forward. That everyone wants to have their say to create better communities."

There are those who on 8 June made a choice to stay home, he said. "There were many of these people who contacted me and gave me their reasons. But it is also why, when seeing all of this, the first question we must ask is whether we will have the courage to make the necessary changes and take the needed decisions. The response is clear, yes we have the courage, we have the enthusiasm to address today's realities, to understand that the priorities of ten years ago are not today's priorities." But he said this does not mean that they are not pleased with what was achieved in the past. "It would be a mistake not to be proud with the positive changes that, from them, people today benefit. Today we can speak about different priorities because we managed to always bring positive change. But that is not enough today. I am convinced that the people recognise the country's economic achievements and we must maintain that. They also recognise that out country created jobs, the social benefits this movement is creating and the leap forward in civil rights we managed to bring. The people recognize this, but are also clearly telling us that they expect more and better from us."

He said that "what before was at the top of people's priorities has changed. The choices you made, we always managed to reflect in our leadership. So we addressed those priorities. I would say that before the pandemic there were already clear signs that people's priorities were changing. I believe that the pandemic resulted in strengthening that tendency. Yes the people want economic growth, but today we must reflect that in the quality of life."

"You reflect it in the quality of life not only in terms of how much money is left in people's pockets. Not only in terms of having a job to bring in a wage, but a career that also leaves you quality time for the family and a good level of living. Not only civil rights, but a bigger sense of correctness and justice, where I believe I should feel a part of the decisions being taken. That is why while the electoral manifesto offers a strong base, the priorities that emerge from it we must always push forward towards the advance of the environment and social aspects. We must go for that change with courage at all levels."

Abela said that "the change in mentality starts with me, that I must continue answering to your aspirations with humility."

He wants to continue having free discussions and that then that change in mentality "must continue in ministries, in the whole government, in all the Labour Party structures. We cannot take anyone or anything for granted. This is a process that the PL passed through a number of times. Many-a-time it was after electoral losses or after years in opposition. There are those (in what was a clear reference to the Nationalist Party) who today are euphoric after an electoral loss. I, today, just two days after it became known that the people gave us a victory of over 20,000 votes, am telling you that we came here to listen, that we want to listen more, and that we are here for you, not for ourselves."

"Today we want to show the same thirst for reform we had when we would ask for the people's trust from the opposition benches."

He said that there are areas where the PL already started on this. "The people appreciate it as otherwise they would not have given us a majority."

"But the people are saying clearly that it is not enough, that it wants renewal and reform and not just continuity, that it wants new aspirations and not just satisfaction with what was done, that it wants to look to tomorrow, and not rest on yesterday. Now it is up to us to respond to the people's call and act on it."

"I am here before you today to respond to that call. The political landscape of our country is changing and we must not only understand that, but work it, as this party has from the beginning believed that the people are always right."

"Just as much as people want reforms, the people's message was also clear, that it was one in favour of wanting discipline and justice, and they want results and not just regulations on paper."

"In all that we do and decide we must ask a fundamental question, what is of most benefit for our children? The decisions we take today, how will they impact society five, ten years down the line? How will we leave this country better for those after us, and how will we see an improvement in the quality of life for our children and their children."

Abela spoke about needing to find the way to not only understand the decision by the tens of thousands who did not participate in the electoral process, but change it by convincing them. That is why my final appeal is to be with us in the implementation of what is good, what is expected of us, what is in the interest of the people, our country and our children."

"We heard the message sent through the elections. The people want a government that is more for the people, a government that does not accommodate, but serves. I want to implement the will of the people."




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