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PL's behaviour on bailout fund vote not acceptable - PM

The Labour Party's strategy was to make Malta look weak with its European counterparts and this was why it had allowed former leader Alfred Sant to force a parliamentary delay in the vote of the European bailout fund, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said this morning

Dr Sant raised a number of technical issues in Parliament during the debate that caused the vote on Malta's guarantee to the European bailout fund, which had to be taken on October 5, to be postponed to last Monday.

Speaking in Swieqi, Dr Gonzi said: "What happened in the past 10 days was greatly irresponsible and the Labour leader should have shouldered the responsibility the national interest required.

"This had been an opportunity for the country to send a message of stability but instead the PL continued to cast doubts on Malta's European Policy," Dr Gonzi said.

He said that what had happened was not acceptable and had been very damaging to Malta and its reputation.

All eyes had been on the eurozone member states which had to approve the agreement reached in July to bolster the fund and stave off a fresh round of uncertainty.

The government had prior to the Parliamentary debate contacted the opposition, including Dr Muscat, Karmenu Vella and Charles Mangion and there had been agreement with the opposition that there would be anonymous approval.

But the opposition seemed to have had a hidden agenda and Dr Sant lengthened the debate until it had to be postponed to the following Monday.

On Monday, Dr Sant had again tried to lengthen the process and the vote was only taken on the government's insistence, the Prime Minister said.

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