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Election Watch

Anthony Manduca highlights the events of the fifth week of the electoral campaign.

Sunday, February 3

Lawrence Gonzi tells a PN mass meeting in Mosta of his willingness to grant a pardon to anyone who helped expose corruption but he would not “protect the spider”. He pledges investigative powers for the Commission Against Corruption and says assets of those found guilty of corruption would be placed in a fund for social projects.

Joseph Muscat, addressing a PL mass meeting in Żabbar, says the first laws of a Labour government would be – together with the 2013 Budget – a Whistleblower Act, regulation of party financing and removal of time-barring on political corruption.

Alternattiva Demokratika international affairs spokesman Arnold Cassola tells a press conference in Santa Venera that AD only makes realistic pledges such as a progressive tax system where those who earn more pay more.

Monday, February 4

Lawrence Gonzi, in reference to Anġlu Farrugia, tells a party activity in Għaxaq that Joseph Muscat has an obligation to explain whether contractors and businessmen had a role in drawing up Labour’s electoral proposals.

At a press conference at party HQ, Dr Gonzi promises to build two regional health centres, one in St Julian’s and one in the south, where minor operations could be performed.

At a press conference outside the Paola Health Centre Joseph Muscat repeatedly answers “no comment” when questioned about Dr Farrugia’s interview. He promises an extra €8 million on heath centres and says a health centre would be opened in the Żurrieq-Kirkop area.

In a meeting with representatives of the LGBT, Dr Muscat says a Labour government would set up a special consultative council to draft a new law on civil union.

Tuesday, February 5

Simon Busuttil, commenting on Labour’s reaction to the Anġlu Farrugia interview, accuses Labour of losing its soul and being morally bankrupt.

“Disgruntled businessmen are those who expected to get something they didn’t have a right to. Now they are finding refuge in Labour,” he says at a press conference at PN HQ. Lawrence Gonzi, visiting the National Screening Centre, promises to publish the PN’s campaign finances.

Joseph Muscat, campaigning in Gozo, promises a Gozitan cruise liner terminal, €50,000 tax credits for Gozitan start-ups, a Gozo office at Dar Malta, the availability of chemotherapy in Gozo, the appointment of a judge permanently in Gozo and more university courses in Gozo. He later says in Qala that there is no shame in being pro-business and challenges the PN to publish its accounts every year like Labour does.

Alternattiva Demokratika chairman Michael Briguglio says the Broadcasting Authority should not be appointed by parties but should represent civil society.

Wednesday, February 6

Lawrence Gonzi, speaking at PN HQ, pledges to strengthen the fight against cancer by extending screening to cervix cancer. Healthcare would remain free, he says, as long as Malta had sound public finances.

Louis Grech, Labour’s deputy leader, will oversee the implementation of the party’s electoral manifesto if Labour wins the election, Joseph Muscat tells a general conference. The conference approves the party manifesto which pledges a financial services ombudsman with executive powers and fiscal incentives for private pension schemes.

Speaking earlier in Lija, Dr Muscat promises a “second Republic” with changes to neutrality, the electoral system and the Broadcasting Authority.

Thursday, February 7

Lawrence Gonzi calls on GWU general secretary Tony Zarb to resign following a recording which appears to suggest that the union could help a company win government tenders. Speaking at Villa Arrigo in Naxxar Simon Busuttil says Labour copied all the PN’s electoral proposals.

Joseph Muscat distances himself from Mr Zarb’s comments, saying no one can speak for Labour apart from its own officials. Presenting Labour’s 86 candidates at the Bay Arena in St Julian’s Dr Muscat says the candidates are of “superior quality” and got together to achieve national unity.

Michael Briguglio says if elected to Parliament, AD would abolish spring hunting.

Friday, February 8

Malta will get €1.1 billion in EU funds from 2014 to 2020. Speaking after the EU summit in Brussels Lawrence Gonzi says: “This will be another massive boost to our economy through which Malta will make the next leap forward.”

Simon Busuttil says during a visit to a Xemxija greenhouse that Labour had failed to give a detailed breakdown of its €732 million electoral proposals.

Joseph Muscat, speaking on One TV, says a Labour government would not renegotiate hunting and trapping regulations with the EU.

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