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Watch: PN's 23,000 members to vote for new leader

Be proud to be Maltese and Nationalist, Busuttil tells activists in passionate speech

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Nationalist Party activists were this evening urged by Simon Busuttil to be proud to be Maltese and Nationalist and to speak out in defence of their values.

He also explained that the party’s 23,000 members will have the final say in the election of a new leader, with the process expected to be completed in September.

Addressing a packed hall at PN headquarters, Dr Busuttil said the electoral result was not the one that was wanted or expected. But it was a result which would be respected with dignity and maturity.

“The electoral process has been carried out. We kept it under constant watch. Despite what some people have said, there is no evidence that the process was vitiated and the result must be respected,” Dr Busuttil said.

He said that respecting the result did not mean that the majority was right in what is said and the minority was wrong, or the contrary.

He reiterated the PN’s belief in good governance, honesty and independent and functioning institutions which put the people’s interests first, not the government’s.

“We continue to cherish what we believed in. The fact that we did not get a majority does not mean that those values were wrong.

“Let us continue to be proud of what we believe in,” Dr Busuttil said to applause.
“Keep your heads high, be proud to represent the values of honesty, integrity and truth. Be proud to be Maltese and Nationalists,” he said to a standing ovation.

Being Nationalist did not mean being anti-Labour, he said. It meant loving one’s country. It was for this reason that the party had welcomed many people from the Labour Party who put the country before their party and voted PN.

Dr Busuttil said he was shouldering responsibility for the outcome of the election. He could not speak about accountability, political responsibility and good governance without then setting an example.

True, he said, some people had questioned how those who were under criminal investigation had not even considered resignation, while the PN leadership was stepping down. But that was what the PN believed in.

Explaining the process for the election of the new leadership, he said a meeting of the party executive would be convened in the coming days to agree on procedure and dates and a call for nominations for party leader would be issued.

The general council, of some 1,500, would then meet and shortlist the nominees to two. 

Then, in terms of the 2014 amendments to the party statute, the party’s 23,000 members would select the winner.

The process is expected to be completed before the Independence celebrations in September.

Dr Busuttil said he would stay in his post until his successor is elected. The same applied to the deputy leaders.

Concluding, Dr Busuttil said those who shared the party’s values and beliefs should remain active and speak out in the interests of the country and the party.

"Never be disheartened, face every challenge with insistence, conviction and determination," he said. 

Follow proceedings above. 

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