Godfrey Farrugia does not exclude running for PD leader

Will Żebbuġ doctor take over from his partner Marlene?

Marlene Farrugia and Godfrey Farrugia at the opening of Parliament in June. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Marlene Farrugia and Godfrey Farrugia at the opening of Parliament in June. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Godfrey Farrugia does not exclude contesting the Democratic Party leadership when his partner Marlene Farrugia relinquishes the post in October.

In a surprise decision communicated on Facebook yesterday, Marlene Farrugia said she will step down as leader at the party’s annual conference.

She told The Sunday Times of Malta that she would continue to militate within the fledgling party and fulfil her parliamentary and constituency duties.

Marlene Farrugia said her decision to step down came as no surprise to PD members because that had always been her intention.

“Anyone who feels capable of contributing in the role of leader should have all the space to do so, and I am sure there are various party members who are willing to run for the post,” the dentist said, adding that she hoped there would be a contest. She said family circumstances meant that she would not have enough time on her hands in the coming years to fulfil the leadership role as well as her parliamentary duties.

“A new leader and others interested in the other executive roles will be able to focus on reaching out to the people, while I will push forward the parliamentary agenda,” she said, adding that the country was crying out for a political party that could unite people.

The decision comes two months after the PD made history by becoming the first-ever third party to elect two candidates to Parliament in more than five decades.

The party, which was only born in October last year, fielded candidates on the Nationalist Party list as part of a pre-electoral deal. Marlene Farrugia was elected on her own steam from the 10th district, while Godfrey Farrugia made it through a casual election on the seventh district.

Godfrey Farrugia excluded nothing when asked whether he was interested in taking up the post his partner would vacate.

“I am leaving all options open,” the Żebbuġ doctor told this newspaper, pointing out that he was a very recent member of the PD. He had filed his candidature with the PN-PD list as nominations were about to close. He did so on the same day he resigned from the Labour Party, accusing it of having lost its soul.

The civic pride of the volunteers who had helped form the PD was an enriching experience, he told this newspaper.

“The PD is made up of people genuinely motivated to build a bright future for Malta. Our role as MPs is to pro-actively push forward PD’s agenda in Parliament but the next step is for the party to strengthen its internal structures,” he said.

Marlene Farrugia caused uproar after the election when she had expressed an interest in contesting the leadership post of the Nationalist Party. She later withdrew the comment but it led to her deputy Anthony Buttigieg resigning his post.

Since the election, she has been very critical of the PN’s leadership contest, saying none of the four candidates had what the post needed and urging the party to postpone the race.

The PD will hold its annual conference in October, and all its paying members, who would have attended at least two get-togethers before the conference, will be able to vote in the internal elections.

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