Political positioning

The local election results were in many ways interpreted as the symbolic end for the Nationalist Party and clearly showed the people's thirst for change. The Malta Labour Party won three consecutive absolute majorities in the last three years, meaning that the Nationalist Party is governing with a minority.

This claim is further confirmed with the European Parliament election result that gave the MLP a comfortable win in 2004. If the trend stays like this, and there's no obvious reason why it shouldn't, the chance of Dr Sant winning the next election, expected in 2008, when the Nationalist Party will have been in government for 21 years is far better than most people realise.

The Malta Labour Party won 15 councils from 23 and performed well in almost all localities. With a mix of youth and experience one can clearly say that Labour has the brightest political generation in its ranks.

My personal friends and colleagues Darren Marmara, Frank Fabri, Alex Sciberras and Clyde Caruana, my successor as president of the Labour Youth Forum, are mayors of their respective localities. Others were elected deputy mayors and councillors, namely, Osvaldo Pace at Gudja, Darleen Zerafa and Dorian Bugeja at Cospicua, Charlene Camilleri at Birkirkara, Roderick Mizzi at Kalkara, Loraine Farrugia at Lija, Owen Bonnici at Marsascala, Malcolm Abdilla and Mark Grech at Zabbar, Keith Grima at San Gwann, Omar Caruana and Keith Darmanin at Tarxien.

During their electoral campaign - being all of them youths - they aired fresh ideas and I'm sure that they will provide the fresh thinking our localities need. They will do it better and definitely more efficiently.

The Nationalist Party made Rabat the battle ground in these local council elections. They made all sorts of allegations of misconduct, hoping that something bad might turn up.

This was described by many as a witch hunt which turned into a political defeat for the Prime Minister himself. The truth is that many of the Nationalist MPs are simply stooges toeing the party line, many times ignoring the promises and their electoral manifesto and more than that, ignoring the views of the constituents who put them there. Furthermore, backbenchers are not following and the degree of dissent within the party is hitting new records. The people have finally realised that their living standards were lowered and that whenever Lawrence Gonzi restlessly talks about economy, education and environment, he means trick, gimmick and fudge.

In the coming months, we have to prepare ourselves for a battle of spin from the Nationalist Party and its allies. Meanwhile, Alfred Sant, a rejuvenated figure, together with his deputies, Charles Mangion and Michael Falzon, will be leading the party back to government by re-energising the party's policy reviews to build a strong, effective, powerful social democrat party, with the objective of ensuring a greener, fairer, decentralised and democratic country.

In his press conference last Sunday, Dr Sant said the party has been setting out key challenges and policy directions in several sectors namely the economy, the environment, welfare reform, better government, education and skills, crime and social policy. The Nationalist Party's obsolete policies will soon disappear without trace. The new politics that the Labour Party is proposing will be shaping our lives and future. My hunch is it will be sooner than we think.


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