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[WATCH] Joseph Muscat to contest election on 2nd and 5th districts

Labour leader Joseph Muscat announces that he will be contesting next month's election on the second and fifth districts and sets up showdown with former Labour MP Marlene Farrugia • Reacting to the announcement, Farrugia challenges Muscat to a public debate in the Zurrieq square
 

miriam
Miriam Dalli
2 May 2017, 7:35pm
Last updated on 2 May 2017, 8:02pm
Labour leader Joseph Muscat flanked by his wife, Michelle (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Labour leader Joseph Muscat flanked by his wife, Michelle (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Labour leader Joseph Muscat addresses Zurrieq rally (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Labour leader Joseph Muscat addresses Zurrieq rally (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Labour leader to contest elections on 2nd and 5th districts
Prime Minister and Labour leader Joseph Muscat will be contesting the second and fifth districts, possibly setting up a direct clash with former Labour MP Marlene Farrugia.

Addressing a boisterous crowd in Zurrieq, the fifth district’s largest locality and a Labour stronghold, Muscat announced that he is running on the two districts.

The 2013 elections had seen Muscat running on the second and fourth districts in which he got over 25,000 votes altogether.

Muscat’s decision to run on the fifth district will seek to fill the void left by the well-liked Karmenu Vella, who is now a European Commissioner, and Marlene Farrugia, who between them got over 10,000 votes in 2013.

Farrugia has since resigned from the Labour Party and her fledgling Democratic Party will be running on the PN ticket after joining forces with the opposition.

In a recent TV interview she signalled her intention to contest the fifth and seventh districts.

Zurrieq residents gathered at the square to follow their leader's address (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Zurrieq residents gathered at the square to follow their leader's address (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Reacting to the announcement, Farrugia challenged Muscat to a public debate in the Zurrieq square. In a Facebook post, she also accused him of "eliminating" all other MPs in order to contest the district.

More votes are for grabs as foreign affairs Minister George Vella, who also contested the fifth district, has called it a day after a good 30 years in politics.

“I know that you felt that I took Karmenu Vella away from you and it felt like you’ve become orphans. So now I’m committing myself to represent you, if you give me your trust, like I will represent the second district,” Muscat told an ecstatic crowd.

He spoke of his government’s achievements over the past four years, from economic growth to equality and social justice. He argued that electing the Labour Party to power would also result in more spending power for citizens.

“Europe is asking how we’re managing this economic miracle,” he said.

To chants of ‘Joseph! Joseph!’, the Labour leader said he was humbly asking them to trust him for another five years.

“Don’t let them fool you that there isn’t a choice. The choice is whether you want to keep on moving on the road of success or to turn back the hands of time. Who do you trust to lead the economy? Joseph Muscat or Simon Busuttil?” he said, as the crowd once again burst into applause.

Deputy prime minister Louis Grech (left) and deputy leader for party affairs, Chris Cardona (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Deputy prime minister Louis Grech (left) and deputy leader for party affairs, Chris Cardona (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
“Remember that these are the same people who governed for 25 years,” he said, to booing. “These are the same politicians who left Malta with high utility bills and deficits.”

And Muscat, who on Monday night launched the Labour Party’s electoral campaign at 11pm, reminded his supporters of the first five priorities announced yesterday morning.

The Labour government reiterated that the Labour government has learnt from its mistakes: “We are humble. We apologise for our mistakes.”

The past four years saw the government being questioned over a number of decisions, some of which also led to resignations of Cabinet members – notably the Old Mint Street expropriation which led to the resignation of former parliamentary secretary for land, Michael Falzon.

In the case of the €4.2 million Café Premier bailout, the Auditor General said there was insufficient justification not to pursue legal action in a bid to rescind the lease on the Valletta premises.

However, Muscat has also battled the Panama Papers revelations which saw his chief of staff and a minister exposed for owning offshore companies in Panama. Now, a magisterial inquiry – requested by Muscat himself – is investigating allegations over the ownership of Egrant Inc, which according to a whistleblower is linked to the Muscat family.

Michelle Muscat (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Michelle Muscat (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
“We apologise for our mistakes and I shoulder the responsibility. I humbly ask you to trust me again,” he said.

miriam
Miriam Dalli joined MaltaToday.com.mt in 2010 and was assistant editor fr...