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Nationalist MP Chris Said to contest party leadership

1 January 1970, 1:00am
PN MP Chris Said will run for the PN leadership (Photo: Ray Attard)
PN MP Chris Said will run for the PN leadership (Photo: Ray Attard)
Nationalist MP Chris Said will be contesting the post of leader of the Nationalist Party.

Said, 46, told this newspaper that he has the energy, motivation and political experience to bring together all those with the country and the party at heart, to rebuild the party and reconnect it to the electorate.

“If I am given the privilege to lead the Nationalist Party my main aim would be to make the Nationalist Party a strong and relevant political force, a formidable Opposition and a credible government-in-waiting.”

Aware of the mammoth task ahead, Said is ready to roll up his sleeves. “The easiest thing at this stage would be to sit back and leave the task for others. But I have always refused to be an armchair critic. I’m rolling up my sleeves and inviting all those who share my love for the country and the party to join me.”

Having climbed his way through all party structures and having served as Parliamentary Secretary, Minister and Secretary General, Dr Said acknowledges that the new leader of the party needs to hit the ground running.

“The task ahead is of epic proportions and there will be little time for running-in periods. If I’m elected party leader I’ll be all in, from the very first day.”

Said is aware that expectations are high. “I’m very well aware of what’s at stake for me and my family. I have no businesses to fall back on and no safety nets. I’m doing this because I love the party and, above all, I love my country. I’ll be in it with all my determination, hard work and enthusiasm.”

As Mayor of Nadur for almost ten years, Dr Said is credited with turning the locality around through an unprecedented wave of infrastructural, environmental, social and cultural projects.

As Parliamentary Secretary within the Office of the Prime Minister he reformed the system of Local Government in Malta, empowered Local Councils with new responsibilities, set up the Malta-EU Steering and Action Committee (MEUSAC), strengthened the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD) and launched the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA).

During his two-year-term as Secretary General of the Nationalist Party between 2013 and 2015, Chris Said brought to an end the party’s financial haemorrhage and in the 2015 Local Council elections decreased the gap with the Labour Party by almost 50%.

The eldest amongst 13 siblings and the son of a self-employed, Said credits his family for instilling in him the right values for a life in politics.

“Being the eldest of thirteen means that you have to quickly learn how to compromise, how to reach out, how to bring out the best in others, how to meet others half way, how to negotiate for whatever you need, how to let – at times – bygones be bygones. I also learnt early in life that whatever I had needed to be passed on to others. Above all, I learnt that nothing in life comes for free and you have to work hard to reach your objectives.”

Dr Said, the youngest of the two contestants who have so far expressed their interest in the leadership post, will now be launching what he termed as a “conversation” with a wide spectrum of people.

“I will be meeting party members, activists, my fellow MPs - with whom I want to work as one united team -, the members of the PN executive committee – men and women who give their all to the party - and the civil society. “These meetings will consolidate my vision and my programme to take forward the party and the country.

I will present the plan once I submit my nomination to become the next leader of the Nationalist Party.” Asked what would be the ingredients for the success of the Nationalist Party, the MP said the party should never stop building bridges.

“We need to involve everyone willing to be part of this country’s future. Through a bottom-up approach we will come up with the right policies for this country, built around the dignity of the individual, and aimed at creating a society for the many and not the few.”

Asked what kind of leadership style one is to expect if he becomes party leader, Said described his style as straight-forward: “I will support the right decisions taken by the government and seek ways how to improve them. But will come down like a tonne of bricks on what is wrong and unacceptable. Compromise, yes, but not at the cost of shoving aside the values that are dear to our people. We will reach out to traditional Nationalist voters who left us in 2013 and again in 2017. We need to make them feel comfortable supporting their party again. We cannot be perceived as being the party which opposes for the sake of opposing. Making peoples’ life better will be our utmost priority.”

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