Update 3: PL never accepted to take part in March 1 Xarabank debate
The PL had never accepted to take part in the March 1 leaders' debate on Xarabank so it could not pull out, a spokesman for the party said this afternoon
Communications director Kurt Farrugia told timesofmalta.com the PL had requested shorter leaders' debates on Xarabank in view of the many debates being held in the last week of the campaign, including one organised by The Times, between leaders Lawrence Gonzi and Joseph Muscat.
A Xarabank debate between Dr Gonzi and Dr Muscat is being held this evening, another is scheduled for March 1.
When contacted, Xarabank presenter and Where’s Everybody director Peppi Azzopardi said:
“I would not like to comment at this stage as I would like to concentrate on tonight’s debate.”
He confirmed that tonight’s debate will go ahead as planned.
In correspondence between the PL and Xarabank seen by timesofmalta.com, Xarabank claimed that the two leaders were invited to take part in both debates on December 31.The Prime Minister accepted in writing and Labour accepted verbally in a telephone call between the PL's communications director Kurt Farrugia and Mr Azzopardi, Fabien Demicoli, on behalf of Xarabank told Mr Farrugia.In his reply Mr Farrugia said the PL was accepting the invitation for tonight's programme.He told timesofmalta.com he never accepting the March 1 invitation.
Addressing a news conference this afternoon, PN general secretary Paul Borg Olivier said the PL first accepted to take part in the Xarabank debates and then tried to set the rules.
It was clear that Labour was afraid of confrontation it did not want to get involved in a debate.
The Nationalist Party, Dr Borg Olivier said, accepted and confirmed both invitations and would not be setting any conditions. It would not be withdrawing from any of the two Xarabank debates.
In a statement replying to Dr Borg Olivier's press conference, Labour said Dr Borg Olivier’s statement was false and a distraction from a PN campaign that had not produced a single policy proposal in two weeks.
"Joseph Muscat has committed to four debates during this campaign so far. He will continue to determine his schedule with his campaign team.
"It might have been more appropriate, at a time when 70% of the country was without power, for the governing party to be focusing on this rather than silly political games," the PL campaign team said.