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A man for all citizens

I often meet people, whose involvement in politics is minimal, who ask me: "When one separates the facts from the fiction created by the Nationalist media about the Labour leader, who is the real Alfred Sant?" Since Dr Sant will, hopefully, be Malta's next Prime Minister, this question deserves an immediate answer.

First of all, Dr Sant is a great leader. He brings out the best of the people who work for him, tolerates no incompetence but always adds a humane touch to all his actions. His performance as Prime Minister of the last Labour government speaks for itself: Foreign investment, tourism initiatives, major projects such as the embellishment of Bugibba and the completion of the first phase of works at the Chadwick Lakes, a drive to eradicate illiteracy, successes in the fight against drug trafficking, etc.

Secondly, Dr Sant is a man of great integrity and political maturity. Since taking over as leader of the Malta Labour Party in 1992, his name has never been associated with any scandal or hint of corruption. This is a fact that even the Nationalists themselves acknowledge. Dr Sant is a gentleman and he shuns the shady side of politics. It was he who changed the face of politics in Malta by making it clear he would tolerate no political excesses, no futile shows of strength in the streets, no building up of unnecessary political tension and polarisation. All Maltese citizens should be grateful for this.

Thirdly, Dr Sant has always shown respect for all citizens, irrespective of their political colour. In his address to the nation on October 28, 1996, upon becoming Prime Minister, Dr Sant outlined his philosophy of a government for all citizens: "Our slogan was The Citizen First and we believe that between citizens there is no difference of political opinion. We are all Maltese". To show that these were not empty words, on that same day he issued a directive saying: "The newly-appointed Prime Minister has directed that government employees should not be transferred between government departments and ministries".

Fourthly, Dr Sant always respects the citizen by telling the truth. He does not insult citizens' intelligence by making statements that everybody takes with a pinch of salt. Can you imagine Dr Sant as Prime Minister stating that he was not personally aware of some of the details of a major project as Lawrence Gonzi has done about residential development in the SmartCity project (The Times, October 21)?

Finally, on a personal level, Dr Sant is a kind and very nice person to have around. Somebody who, upon entering Parliament, notices that the Valletta cab horses are suffering under the relentless sun and immediately gives notice of a private member's motion in Parliament to provide adequate cover for them is the epitome of all that a human being should be.

The Nationalist Party, aware of the calibre of the Labour leader, has for several years been conducting a media campaign of character assassination against him. This is nothing new on the local political scene. Such unsavoury PN tactics date back to the 1920s and 1930s when the PN conducted a similar campaign against another great leader and politician, Gerald Strickland.

It is now up to the citizen to sift fact from fiction and not swallow wholesale the inventions of the PN media about Dr Sant. Many years ago, the PN was successful in destroying Gerald Strickland's political career and it was Malta that suffered the consequences from 1932 to 1947. This time around, I sincerely believe that citizens are more enlightened and at the next general election will vote into power Dr Sant, truly, a man for all citizens.

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