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Former Alternattiva Demokratika chairperson ‘offers resignation’

Divergence over Sliema councillor Michael Briguglio’s choice to campaign for PN-PD coalition reaches boiling point inside Green Party

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella
11 May 2017, 9:58am
Michael Briguglio (second from left) at an AD press conference in Sliema together with party chairperson Arnold Cassola and deputy chairperson Carmel Cacopardo
Michael Briguglio (second from left) at an AD press conference in Sliema together with party chairperson Arnold Cassola and deputy chairperson Carmel Cacopardo
Michael Briguglio, the former chairperson of Alternattiva Demokratika, the Green Party, has said he “offered his resignation” from the party he once helmed, ostensibly over his choice to campaign for the PN-PD coalition.

In a Facebook post, Briguglio, an AD councillor for Sliema, reaffirmed his wish to campaign for the PN-PD “national force”, having already appeared by PN leader Simon Busuttil’s side during party rallies.

He said that the coalition was “the only possible way to remove the Panama gang from power... [the coalition] is also proposing some great progressive policies. My only interest in the whole matter is to live in a normal European country,” in a reference to the offshore companies scandal that has engulfed the Labour leadership.

AD chairperson Arnold Cassola told The Malta Independent yesterday that party members should follow the decisions of the party executive, in a reminder of the fraught relationship the leadership has had with Briguglio, a seasoned campaigner with an independent streak who gravitated from Moviment Graffitti to the Green Party.

“Obviously we don’t agree with him on this,” he said. “We need to attract as many votes as possible and support those who don’t agree with the Prime Minister’s inaction on Minister Konrad Mizzi and the prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri.”

Cassola has insisted that AD needs to offer an alternative for those who do not feel comfortable voting for candidates on the PN list.

The party refused to join the PN’s ‘coalition’ – which will be hosting PD candidates on its own ballot sheet – after the party refused to campaign under a new name and logo that would represent all parties.

“What Michael Briguglio needs to understand is that he is an individual and likes to voice his opinion as such,” Cassola said. “In the party we have a democratic process, an executive and we discuss different opinions. But when one’s opinion is not in line with the wishes of the majority in the party, that individual still needs to reflect the views of the party.”

Cassola said Briguglio was free to say what he wants personally “but he cannot overrule the decisions taken by the executive.”

In a Facebook post, Briguglio used the example of the former Green leader Danny Cohn Bendit in France, who publicly supported centrist candidate Emanuel Macron and not the socialists, who were supported by the Greens in the recent French presidential election.

“When I appeal to AD to join the coalition I am also reflecting the opinion of a number of members, ex-members, ex-candidates and green sympathisers who are constantly communicating with me about their preoccupation with Malta’s current situation. In any case, I recently offered my resignation as AD member. This will be my final post on AD and the elections. I respect their decision not to join the coalition but I disagree with it.”

Briguglio has said he will not contest the elections this year.

In 2013, AD registered its best ever showing with 1.8% of the vote with Briguglio as chairperson.

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.