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Student starts petition to have University leaders’ debate open for all

Petition comes after student media group Insite reveals that PN supporters are attempting to flood the leaders' debate with as many PN supporters as possible 

tim_diacono
Tim Diacono
15 May 2017, 5:41pm
The leaders' debate will be held at the Sir Temi Zammit Hall. Photo: UoM
The leaders' debate will be held at the Sir Temi Zammit Hall. Photo: UoM
In the wake of revelations that Nationalist supporters are attempting to flood the upcoming leaders’ debate at the University of Malta with as many PN fans as possible, a student has started an online petition for the debate to be held outdoors, making it open to all those who wish to attend.

The petition, started by Isaac Spiteri, questions why the Wednesday debate is being held at the Sir Temi Zammit Hall, which can host a maximum of 800 students, when the University boasts of having over 10,000 students.

“Usually, students are told that Sir Temi Zammit Hall is the biggest one on campus. This year, the organisers have an advantage. The election in being held in spring-summer and the organisers can easily shift the debate to an outside space on campus with no risks of cancellation due to adverse weather.”

The petition says that the call for a change in venue has become even more valid after student media organisation Insite published leaked screenshots of a Messenger group conversation, which shows that PN supporters are attempting to swing the debate’s audience towards the party.

Leaked comments include that the debate should be “hijacked like they [Labour] did in 2013” and that the students should ask trap questions to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

“We want a fair debate. We want that all students are allowed to follow the debate and ask all leaders questions,” the petition reads.

The petition has been signed by over 1,400 people at the time of writing.

Barring any last-minute changes, the debate will be held between Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, PN leader Simon Busuttil, Partit Demokratiku leader Marlene Farrugia and Altertnattiva Demokratika chairperson Arnold Cassola on Wednesday at 1pm at the Sir Temi Zammit Hall.