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The forthcoming choice

Life is full of choices. We make them on a daily basis. Some are very ordinary, while others are pivotal and alter or condition our life’s journey. Some choices make us blush and in hindsight we come to regret them. Others make us feel tall and proud. The choices we make echo our inner value system and underline what we want to stand for in life.

On June 3 we are being hastily summoned to decide which political party is to lead us.

Many consider this forthcoming election a premature election in the knowledge that it is being called a year ahead of schedule. To make matters worse, this election is being held while Malta is chairing the EU Presidency. Many query why all this haste. Why has the Labour government, with its historical majority, felt the need to call a snap election when according to the Labour spin doctors, we never had it so good?

The labour’s campaign slogan, l-aqwa żmien – the best of times – encapsulates this projected good feeling factor. Therefore, it is imperative to query the true motive behind this rushed decision. Only fools rush such decisions, and surely our Prime Minister is no fool. So what made him pull the gun? Was he motivated by our nation’s interest, his party’s, or his own survival?

Many consider this election to be a freak election, although the labour spin doctors want us to believe the contrary. If this was a run of the mill election, then may the best political party win the day. I hold that this election must be contextualised within a wider and more profound background. It is within this context that the answer to what triggered this early election can be found.

Sadly, I must confess, contrary to its solemn gloss pre-electoral pledges, this government, has an abysmal record of good governance. The Labour Party has made a travesty of its own promises. The pledges of meritocracy, transparency, accountability and zero tolerance to corruption have become hollow words and are an insult to one’s intelligence. The list of obtrusive sleaze, rampant cronyism and episodes of shady dealings are too many to underline. Last year’s damning Panama revelations proved to be Joseph Muscat’s albatross. His lethargy to tackle head-on the elephant in the room made many doubt his credibility and raised questions about the possibility of his association. The Prime Minister ended up with dented credibility. The latest revelations regarding Egrant’s true ownership and the alleged IIP scheme kickback allegations are the cherry on the cake.

The real issue now is systematic corruption versus good governance

By now, the majority of citizens are convinced that this government has become a corrupt government. The more government elves try to persuade otherwise, the more people are seeing through Muscat’s spin and gloss. Many feel that Malta has been turned into a ‘soulless State’ in which our Constitutional bodies are in free fall.

Calling an election is not the right way to tackle this festering issue. Elections are meant to be a democratic exercise to choose who will lead the nation and not a rubberstamp to establish what is good and what is bad. Elections do not absolve the ‘sins and omissions’ of politicians. The election results will neither alter nor dispel the dark shadows and raised questions, of this ongoing sleaze.

It is within this context that the forthcoming election is not about the best electoral proposals, but about core principles and fundamental values. Although proposals are part and parcel of every election, in the present scenario they may be insignificant. Is this a déjà vu of 1981 when the Labour regime took over our country against the will of the majority? During the regime’s first budget, Eddie Fenech Adami insisted that the proposed government’s budgetary measures about the reduction of prices of tuna tins were insignificant when compared to the real issue. The real issue then was democracy. The real issue now is systematic corruption versus good governance.

The next election is a choice between Joseph and Co, who hijacked the Labour Party to push their self-centred agenda, and a coalition of active citizens wanting to give Malta back its credibility. It is a choice between fat cats and our core values which have defined our nation throughout the ages. It is a choice of what type of society we and our children want to live in. Do we want to live in a society which extols greed, underhandedness, slyness and selfishness, or a society which upholds the common good?

Do we prefer politics which encourage the supremacy of the ‘I’ over the ‘we’? Are we to choose politicians who seek the interest of the few or politicians who safeguard the well-being of the many?

My choice is clear. I choose to stand up and be counted. As an election candidate, I firmly believe that we need to work together for a more humane society, committed to the values of social justice, solidarity, equality and inclusiveness, where no one is left out. I want to be the change I want to see, within the party but mostly within my country. I choose to stand up and promote my values. I do not shy away from my values. I am committed to choose and safeguard the interests of the many rather than of the few. Humbly I ask your trust so as to be the voice of those who have none.

I am not alone in this. The new Nationalist Party line-up, led by Simon Busuttil, share the same vision and commitment.

June 3 is a decisive day. Make the right choice and choose wisely.

Choose Malta.

Albert Buttigieg is a Nationalist Party candidate on the 9th and 10th districts and deputy mayor of St Julian’s.

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