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Why Debono is history and the PM’s contest a farce
Franco Debono’s decision not to come clean and state how he voted when we know he voted against, is probably a clear case of someone who wishes to have the best of both worlds.
27 February 2012, 12:00am
There is a perfect word for the timewaster that Franco Debono has proved himself to be. A c***teaser, especially after having carefully interpreted his cryptic comment that shows he did not have the gall to state in very simple Maltese that he voted against.
He has said he had resigned from the PN but then collected his vote. If that does stand out as farcical, what would?
So instead of saying how he voted he plunged into this unbelievably cryptic argument which went like this: "You should look at the law on political parties and party financing for which I have campaigned, drafted and presented in parliament to see how a political party in a modern European State should conduct its business."
Franco Debono really thinks that at this point we are genuinely worried about party financing. I happen to agree, but is this really the moment to talk about party financing?
As I told Debono in one of those endless telephone conversations, it was like asking a nervous soldier under incessant fire from a machine gun post if he preferred vegetable or meat lasagne and whether for dessert, he would go for a cassatella or Crème brûlée and after perhaps an Amaro!
Now what was said off the record by Debono would make for interesting reading, but the truth is that Debono's decision not to come clean and state how he voted when we know he voted against, is probably a clear case of someone who wishes to have the best of both worlds.
He is dreading the time when the news and the focus will move away from him. Well, you can take it from me that Debono is history, unless his words are translated into deeds.
In the meantime, the whole country is held to ransom and business simply cannot get going. And yes, many of the ills in the country - no matter what is said by the GRTU and Chamber of Commerce - is caused by of the PM's mishandling of the crisis and Franco Debono's prima donna politics.
What did the PM intend to achieve by this contest?
Surely, the fact that two backbenchers did not collect their voting document and ergo, did not vote, is indeed a problem. In fact, it is more of a problem than he thinks.
Indeed, did he expect any consideration from the two backbenchers and EU commissioner who were bludgeoned and traded with insults from the hate blogger who is well known to take orders from... guess who?
Perhaps when the prime minister's personal assistant Edgar Galea Curmi figures out that criticism about his role as a public official is not equivalent or comparable to the bile and hate created by the bloggers from hell... then, and only then, will the Prime Minister appreciate that saying sorry is not enough.
It is also true that we have a Prime Minister who thinks that by saying sorry everything is sort of cleared. I guess it has very much to do with the sacrament of penance practised in the Catholic Church.
That Franco Debono has not declared that he voted for the Prime Minister means that he obviously voted against or abstained. Debono has held the nation to ransom and his party leader as well. And the party leader has put his personal interest before that of the nation.
If he really loved his party and the country, he would do the honourable thing and move aside for a new leader to take over. For that to happen he would have to resign or announce that he would resign. Instead he stayed on, making it impossible for anyone to show interest in the post.
What happened on Satruday was akin to what happened in Cairo in the time when Mubarak attempted to give a semblance of democracy by opening up a contest with one contestant (himself) and getting over 95% of the vote. And guess what, Mubarak even voted for himself.
Surprisingly, when the PM appeared at the polling booth, no journalist asked him if he found it uncomfortable to vote for himself. That question is perfectly legitimate in London, Oslo, Paris or Berlin but not in the beautiful cement suburbs of Pieta.
On the PN sectional committees from where the 887-odd councillors representing the PN hail, we learn that most of the representatives are not elected but selected and chosen by the PM's sacred posse of sycophants. Most of them work with government agencies, have contracts with government, work in ministries or work with the office of the Prime Minister or owe their livelihood to government. Their allegiance or better still their best 'insurance' is for the PM to go on ruling. If possible, until kingdom come.
This is not about choosing the better leader for the Nationalist party but about their careers and their personal future.
The Prime Minister thinks that by having an overwhelming vote in his favour he has solved all his problems. He may have asserted the perception of authority within his party but in reality the only way he could have solved his problem is by either having Franco Debono resigning or else genuflecting in front of his leader and offering his unreserved allegiance.
None of this has been forthcoming, and this has led to this unbelievable farce which in turn has led to jubilation and celebration by PN activists. Debono has ridiculed himself and wasted everyone's time; the Prime Minister, the media, the country, the party and countless people in politics.
The Prime Minister will be remembered as a person who had no remorse in voting for himself in a one-man contest. But Franco is toast, past perfect tense. He should resign from the Nationalist Party and parliament and leave politics to those who have the sense and self-respect to follow the principles they so often preach about in their unnervingly long sermons.
Franco Debono is, in my eyes, relegated to the dustbin of history and his Prime Minister is under the false impression that he has achieved a joyful and triumphant victory.
Saviour Balzan is the founder and co-owner of MaltaToday. He has reported on Maltese poli...