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[WATCH] Busuttil kicks off election campaign: 'Choice is between Muscat and Malta'

Simon Busuttil: "Muscat needs to win the election...if he loses, he could end up in jail'

tim_diacono
Tim Diacono
1 May 2017, 3:54pm
PN leader Simon Busuttil • Photos: Marc Edward Pace
PN leader Simon Busuttil • Photos: Marc Edward Pace
 

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil kicked off his election campaign by posing the election as a choice between Joseph Muscat and Malta.

Addressing several thousands of PN supporters at a mass meeting at Spinola Bay, Busuttil warned that the Prime Minister is desperate to win the upcoming election because his own skin is at stake.

"Muscat needs to win the next election, because if he loses he will be interrogated and arrested, and he could end up in prison," he said. "We want to win the election so that the people can once again live in a country that they deserve. Muscat needs to win the election so that Malta can remain his own, but we want to win the election so that Malta becomes of the people."     

In his speech, Busuttil reiterated several of his promises - including appointing a specialized magistrate to investigate corruption cases, slashing income tax for small businesses, building a metro transport system, regenerating the towns of Hamrun, Marsa, Bugibba and Qawra, and re-nationalising the Gozo General Hospital.

Photos: Marc Edward Pace
Photos: Marc Edward Pace
He dismissed Muscat's pledge to resign if the ongoing magisterial inquiry were to find any suspicion linking him or his wife to the secret offshore Panama company Egrant.

"It is too late now, Prime Minister. We no longer believe you, because you have lied too many times. The mer fact that you are under a criminal investigation and that your chief of staff [Keith Schembri] has received kickbacks from the sale of citizenship scheme is in itself enough reason to resign.”

Busuttil hailed the former Pilatus Bank employee-turned-whistleblower who had spilled the beans on Egrant to Daphne Caruana Galizia.

“She is a courageous woman and an example to each and every one of us, but because she has exposed Muscat she is now being ferociously attacked.”

He drew parallels with how the whistleblower in the works-for-votes case against the husband of former Gozo minister Giovanna Debono had been awarded €500,000 in contracts at the Foundation for Tomorrow Schools.

“This woman is not the sort of whistleblower who Joseph Muscat wants to protect…if she had wanted to destroy Giovanna Debono and her family, then he’d have protected her and given her a quarter of a million euro.”

He warned that government corruption has placed thousands of jobs at risk, particularly those in the financial services and gaming sectors.

Democratic Party leader Marlene Farrugia
Democratic Party leader Marlene Farrugia
Michael Briguglio, former chairperson of Alternattiva Demokratika
Michael Briguglio, former chairperson of Alternattiva Demokratika
“Four years ago, Muscat had come off the greatest electoral victory in Malta’s history and had a golden chance to move this country forwards. Four years ago, Muscat was the future but he is not the ugly and bleak past of four years of corruption.”

Several thousands of people attended the PN’s first mass meeting of this electoral campaign, with many holding PN and EU flags and a banner reading ‘Back to the 80s’ erected at the Spinola carpark.

Other people held placards reading 'Bi gvern tal-klikka jibda regim faxxista' (a government by clique is the start of a fascist regime' and 'Rabbit Intervention Unit'. The latter placard is a dig at police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar, who was mocked for going out to eat rabbit on the night reports surfaced that the Michelle Muscat is the ultimate beneficiary owner of the offshore Panama company Egrant.

Partit Demokratiku leader Marlene Farrugia and PD candidates, who will contest the election on the PN ticket were present in the crowd, as was sociologist and former Alternattiva Demokratika chairman Michael Briguglio.