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Similarities to Le Pen’s attempt to undermine rival

Besides Simon Busuttil’s copying of Marine Le Pen’s slogan 'Choose France', a vile story against the prime minister’s wife was originally posted by a blogger was used

19 May 2017, 7:30am
Marie Le Pen, tried to undermine the credibility and popularity of her political rival for the French Presidential election, Emmanuel Macron, by alleging that Macron had a opened a company in an offshore jurisdiction
Marie Le Pen, tried to undermine the credibility and popularity of her political rival for the French Presidential election, Emmanuel Macron, by alleging that Macron had a opened a company in an offshore jurisdiction
The French far-right leader, Marie Le Pen, tried to undermine the credibility and popularity of her political rival for the French Presidential election, Emmanuel Macron, by alleging that Macron had a opened a company in an offshore jurisdiction, the Bahamas – the inference being that her rival had done this to hide money from the French tax authorities.

She did this just hours before she had to face Macron in the final TV debate prior to the election. Emmanuel Macron immediately denied her allegations and started libel proceedings against Marie Le Pen. The great majority of French voters were not duped by Le Pen’s political ploy, and gave Emmanuel Macron a resounding victory by around 66% of the vote against 33% for Le Pen.

In our country a very similar political ploy is being played by Simon Busuttil and his party, in close collaboration with a blogger. Besides Simon Busuttil’s copying of Le Pen’s slogan “Choose France” with “I Choose Malta”, a vile story against the prime minister’s wife Michelle Muscat, based on information provided by a Russian woman presently facing court charges for fraud and false statements against police officers, was originally posted by the said blogger, and repeated in a dramatic fashion by Dr Simon Busuttil during a press conference called at 8:30 pm, with all his PN deputies and officials behind him for full effect.

Although the magisterial inquiry which the prime minister and his wife Michelle had immediately asked for, after describing the allegation as “the vilest ever in Malta’s political history”, is still ongoing at the time of writing this letter, I am more than convinced that Maltese and Gozitan voters are intelligent enough to conclude why this vile allegation has been made at this particular time.

And, just as French voters have given Marie Le Pen a deserved lesson with their vote on May 8, so, I strongly believe, will Maltese and Gozitan voters similarly condemn with their vote Simon Busuttil and the PN to the opposition benches on June 3!

Eddy Privitera, Mosta

The web of life

In the Old Testament, Jehovah told man to “replenish the earth and subdue it”, and to “have dominion over fish, fowl” and “over every living thing”.

In 1855, the Suquamish Chief Seattle sent a letter to the President of the United States which can be described as a prose poem to the earth: “The President in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. But how can you buy or sell the sky? The land? The idea is strange to us...

“Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect. All are holy in the memory and experience of my people...

“We are part of the earth and it is part of us... The perfumed flowers are our sisters. The bears, the deer, the great eagle, these are our brothers...

“The shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water but the blood of our ancestors... The water’s murmur is the voice of my father’s father. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also receives his last sigh...

“Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our mother? What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth.

“This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. Men did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”

The Chief’s letter accords with today’s ecological consciousness. It is this consciousness – rather than the Old Testament’s anthropocentric mindset – that will help us to save our beautiful planet.

John Guillaumier, St Julian’s

Clarifications on MUT president’s reply

Reference is made to the reply from MUT president Kevin Bonello (7 May).

As explained in my press conference, I demanded additional safeguards for the MUT election process specifically due to the particular developments which took place in the run-up of this particular election. Moreover, I had aired my recommendations and suggestions with Mr Bonello personally as well as with the MUT council ahead of the electoral process. In his reply, Mr Bonello conveniently ignored the fact that a request was made to the MUT council to have an audited election which request was turned down. Had this request been accepted this whole saga would have never developed.

As already explained, I had aired my views and recommendations well ahead of the electoral process. My request for candidates to be allowed to put a rubberstamp on the votes was expressed before the start of the electoral process. This request was simply turned down by Mr Bonello in the presence of witnesses.

A surplus of votes was indeed printed. Whilst the receipts did give a figure for the number of extra votes printed, it was not clear where these votes were being kept. When other candidates enquired with the electoral board about this, the board was not sure whether the votes were all contained within the boxes held at the voting room or elsewhere. This all the more necessitated the need for the ballots to be further authenticated by candidates’ rubberstamps for obvious reasons.

Mr Bonello did not deny (and indeed cannot deny) that on Wednesday, 26 April a meeting of the election board took place at 7.15pm at the MUT headquarters, purportedly to seal the voting room, which meeting was not advised to all candidates and that at the same time Marco Bonnici and other candidates were also present on premises.

Moreover, Mr Bonello once again conveniently ignored to observe that even if the other candidate had a pre-scheduled campaign meeting at the MUT premises this would have still been unethical and contrary to established MUT practice. Hitherto, no candidate for MUT elections was ever allowed to hold campaign meetings or events in the MUT premises.

Mr Bonello personally admitted with myself that this was a shortcoming, however he did not express this view in his “right of reply”. Whilst doubts were cast on the undersigned, not even one word of disapproval or censure was uttered by Mr Bonello regarding the blatant breach of union policy vis-à-vis campaigning on premises by the other candidate and his supporters.

By penning his right of reply, Mr Bonello once again confirmed his bias towards the undersigned by his selective and inaccurate reporting as explained above whilst conveniently ignoring that (1) The election board was called to seal the voting on the 26th April at 7.15pm without all of the candidates being notified; (2) At exactly the same time Marco Bonnici and a number of other candidates were on premises apparently on a campaign meeting; (3) Such coincidences and campaigning on premises at that time in the evening certainly do not inspire trust in a just and transparent electoral process.

Since then, it has to be noted that a proposal for a way forward was made by the MUT president which essentially entails the electoral process to be carried out by a company of auditors and the formation of a working-group presided by the MUT legal adviser. The proposal met the approval of the MUT council and thus a way forward has finally been found.

In light of all this, I cannot but again observe that had my original recommendation for an audited election been acceded to in the first instance this saga would have never ensued!

Franklin Barbara, MUT secretary-general

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