Why calling an election now makes sense
Franco Debono must be relishing all the limelight he is getting through his political antics, leaving people guessing all the time as to the next step or steps he plans to take in what looks like an obsession to hit out at Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi.
What exactly does he want? No one knows; what is definite now is that he has ruined his political future with the party that has helped him win a seat in Parliament.
It would seem that at times he appeared even keen to burn his bridges with the party, choosing to press his demands relentlessly and acting as if he were a kingmaker.
Dr Debono’s impatience has led him to disrupt the political serenity of his own government. He has also been displaying a kind of arrogance that ought to be abhorred in politics. It is fine to be enthusiastic and to work unceasingly towards seeing shared ideals being implemented, but there is a line that ought not to be crossed in pushing one’s demands. Dr Debono has crossed that line.
Dr Gonzi, whose government was returned to power with a very slim majority at the last election, has done his best to try and deflect the blows and to give the impression that all is normal. But he has only been deluding himself.
However much Dr Gonzi denies that the country is in an election mode, the truth is that it is. The completion of this or that project would not make a difference to the party’s political fortunes. It is too late for that now.
The sooner the country goes to the polls, the better it would be for all, as the present uncertainty is doing no good to the economy. The economic situation in Europe is unlikely to be over within a few months; indeed, the likelihood is that it will get worse and not better.
Even if Dr Debono were to fall in line with the rest of the party, the MP could hardly be politically relied upon not to upset the applecart again at a most disadvantageous time for the administration.
Indeed, the Prime Minister ought to have seen this well before Dr Debono was given time to continue playing havoc with the government’s programme.
Calling an election ahead of more turbulent economic times in Europe makes sense at least on two counts. The first is that if the Nationalists are returned to power, they would be able to consolidate, in time, their programme of meeting adverse economic circumstances.
On the other hand, if the country opts for Labour, the new administration would have to find its feet first before getting to grips with the situation. An election now would give it time, if elected, to prepare itself for the storm.
Then of course there is the need to remove the uncertainty of the political situation, which has gripped the country since Dr Debono set out on his political shenanigans.
The people would seem to be all ready for an election. All that remain before the fever gets sharper are the installation of the election boards and, of course, the publication of the parties’ electoral programmes.
The language and the mood have been there for quite some time already, with the parties’ stations going overboard in the extent they go to project their opponents in as bad a light as possible. But that is par for the course in an election campaign, even though, strictly speaking, it has not started yet.