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They planned it all out

There are a lot of things people look for in a prime minister. Joseph Muscat possesses none of them. Malta’s unique selling point has always been its good reputation. Muscat is its biggest threat.

This is an upside-down election campaign. Normally, election campaigns focus on the economy, education and health proposals. Not this time. Malta is rocked by a political scandal off the Richter scale. This is, of course, the main reason we are having the election. No wonder that Muscat is trying to shift focus away from the unbearable stench of corruption around his government.

Labour littered Malta with election billboards promising tax cuts. Hundreds of people are being employed within the government. To his dismay, come June 3, Muscat might realise that people were not prepared to be swayed by his frenzied salesmanship desperately soliciting for votes.

Aside from his most loyal supporters, those with an emotional attachment to the party, the vast majority of voters base their decisions on their experience over years, not the last weeks leading to the general election. And for the last four years, people have had it up to their nose with wall-to-wall coverage of financial wrong doing, secret offshore accounts, and lack of transparency and meritocracy.

Muscat wants us to believe that this is the best time for Malta. Pull the other one.

Malta’s unique selling point has always been its good reputation

The police force is led by a man who is a pawn in government’s hands.

Konrad Mizzi, the Minister Within the Office of the Prime Minister, and chief of staff Keith Schembri were caught with secret companies in Panama. In normal circumstances, the Prime Minister would have fired them on the spot.

For the first time in Malta’s political history, we have a Prime Minister who is under a magisterial inquiry. In normal circumstances he would have stepped down – at least pending the inquiry. But these are not normal circumstances. These are extraordinary circumstances. Make no mistake, no government, unless it is in deep crisis, would call an election a year before schedule.

When journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia unleashed the mother-of-all-bombs, ‘Egrant belongs to Michelle Muscat’, the Prime Minister ran for cover. He blew the whistle to save his skin, plunging Malta into a constitutional and political crisis.

As one Labour supporter put it to me: “He was told by his tightly knit group that it would be the end of ‘their project’ if he left. He stayed not for the sake of his country, or his party, but for himself and his closest aides.”

When he took helm of a party flat on its back, Muscat transformed Labour into his image until he strangled it to become the party himself. Following the landslide victory of 2013, Muscat and his aides embarked on a plan to transform Malta in their image – and they succeeded because mention Malta abroad and you get ‘Panama’ as a reply.

He now wants to suppress our freedoms. The rule of law is being strangled in our country. The Attorney General’s office fails to follow up on a damning report by the FIAU implicating the Prime Minister’s chief of staff and his key advisor, Brian Tonna of Nexia BT. The Police Commissioner is a classic example of nobody home.

For all the billboards put up by the Labour Party telling us that ‘Muscat keeps his word’, what he delivers just does not cut it. Ever. He promised us meritocracy and gave us Sai Mizzi. He promised transparency and gave us Hearnville, Tillgate and Egrant.

Muscat has done everything he can to damage Malta’s reputation. He needs to look at himself in the mirror and accept he has failed. Unfortunately, he won’t. Which explains why we need to take that decision for him. On June 3, Muscat needs to suffer a merited defeat. Muscat, Schembri, Mizzi, and Tonna planned it all out. Now, they are plotting to remain firmly in place. Let’s stop them.

As a young mother and a general election candidate, I know who I want shaping my daughter’s future – and we need your support to make sure it happens. For Malta’s sake, no one should be sitting this one out. All the people of goodwill, regardless of their political affiliations, should send a message that never again should Malta be led by a Prime Minister and a tightly knit group, who wrought havoc to Malta’s reputation.

Alessia Psaila Zammit is a lawyer and a PN general election candidate on the 6th district.

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