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EU ‘stopped Malta being conservative’

PN leadership contender Mario de Marco yesterday. Photo: Jason BorgPN leadership contender Mario de Marco yesterday. Photo: Jason Borg

EU membership changed Maltese society to the point that it stopped being conservative, according to PN leadership contender Mario de Marco.

“We did not only liberalise the economy. We also liberalised thought,” he told the press during the unveiling of his website www.mariodemarco.eu.

He added that it would be a “fundamental mistake” for the PN not to recognise these changes and continue being a party that was more conservative than the British Conservative Party because it would end up representing a minority.

Dr de Marco said he wanted the PN to return to being a party that reflected the aspirations and expectations of the people and this could be achieved by involving ordinary people in “issue groups” that keep policy updated.

As part of his campaign for leadership, Dr de Marco’s website intends to attract feedback from the public on the party’s way forward, rather than being restricted to councillors and party members.

Rather than looking backwards, I want to look forward

The website features the proposal documents published so far by those contesting for leadership, including those of Simon Busuttil and Francis Zammit Dimech. Raymond Bugeja has not yet made his proposals public.

“I do not have a monopoly on good ideas,” said Dr de Marco when asked why he was including the documents of his competitors.

Dr de Marco said he intended to come up with a “final document” before May 4, so he was relying on feedback until April 25.

He said this consultative exercise was different from the one being done by a specifically appointed PN commission whose task, he said, was to analyse the party’s defeat. “Rather than looking backwards, I want to look forward,” he said.

Asked how he was different to the other contenders, Dr de Marco shied away from criticising anyone, saying “comparisons are odious”.

Asked whether he agreed with the decision not to open the contest to party members, Dr de Marco said the time frames defined by the current statute did not permit this even though party members used to elect the PN leader before 1976.

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