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Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando: ‘Call an election if you expel me’

The Zebbug MP warns that if the party were to expel him and two of his colleagues, the PM would have no other option but to call an election in the clear absence of a parliamentary majority.

Karl Stagno-Navarra
4 July 2012, 12:00am
Backbencher Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando braced for 'tragic' expulsion (Pic: Ray Attard/MediaToday)
Widely rumoured to be on the verge of expulsion from the Nationalist Party for having voted with the Opposition on a motion which brought down Richard Cachia Caruana, Zebbug MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando has challenged the party leadership to call an election if either he or any of his colleagues are forced out of the party.

In comments to MaltaToday, Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando reacted to the latest escalation of events following Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi's warning last Sunday, that the PN would take further action against its MPs who voted with the opposition in Parliament.

Gonzi's latest stance has been widely considered as an escalation over last month's public condemnation by the PN's executive of Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando and fellow back-benchers Jesmond Mugliett and Franco Debono, who, over the past two months, helped force the resignation of former Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici and Malta's Permanent Representative to the EU Richard Cachia Caruana.

"The issue cannot end here," Gonzi said last Sunday, adding that although he tolerated criticism, he however could not accept that MPs from his own side  had crossed a red line to vote with the Opposition to undermine the government."

Gonzi said the three MPs could not act as though nothing had happened and the party needed to continue to address the matter seriously in the interests of the truth.

But in replies to MaltaToday, Pullicino Orlando has seemingly understood that the PN is preparing to expel him.

"Judging from what the Prime Minister said last Sunday, and his tone, I think that may very well be the case. This is obviously surprising on a number of levels," he said, adding that should this be the case, "then there is only one possible way forward if I - or any other one of my colleagues - are expelled from the party, then we must go for an early election."

In his comments to MaltaToday, the Zebbug MP said that "this extraordinary over-reaction only came about after the Richard Cachia Caruana motion passed. Compared to what is happening now the reaction to the Carm Mifsud Bonnici motion approval was insignificant. This strengthens the arguments I put forward in reply to those who were trying to portray Cachia Caruana as a mere civil servant with no responsibility whatsoever in the Partnership for Peace (PfP) debacle,  which led to his resignation. He is considered by the ruling clique to be even more important than a democratically elected and valid Cabinet minister such as Carm Mifsud Bonnici."

"Secondly, a democratic party has no right whatsoever to censure an MP. exercising his parliamentary duties in any way he deems fit. If the same were to happen in another European country all hell would break loose. Imagine what would happen if Prime Minister Cameron were to act in the same way with Conservative MPs, some of whom regularly vote with the opposition on particular issues," Pullicino Orlando said.

"If the argument brought forward is that the way I voted was determined by personal motivations - which was definitely not the case - the same argument would condemn those who voted against the will of the people last year after the divorce referendum," he said.

Pullicino Orlando stressed that "in a democratic society, what's good for the goose should be good for the gander and that would mean that the 12 government MPs who voted against the divorce bill in Parliament should also be kicked out of the party."

"The motion I presented asking for Cachia Caruana's expulsion from the PN was a direct answer to those in the party - obviously being guided by Cachia Caruana himself - who have decided to make an issue out of the fact that my partner Carmen is openly participating in activities organised by the Labour Party."

Pullicino Orlando added that his partner "never tried to hide her Labour sympathies from anyone (including the Prime Minister and my party - we have an excellent relationship with many party officials) - she has obviously supported me personally during the past 10 years but since I have decided not to re-contest with the PN this time around there is nothing to stop her from exercising her right of freedom of association openly."

He alleged that "this contrasts with the underhanded way in which Cachia Caruana organised encounters with high ranking officials in the Sant administration after the 1996 elections in an attempt at putting his colleagues in the Nationalist administration in a bad light whilst trying to curry favour with Labourite officials. I felt constrained to draw the attention of the PN Executive Committee to this hypocritical attitude."

In conclusion, Pullicino Orlando said that "there is only one possible way forward if I - or any other one of my colleagues - are expelled from the party, then we must go for an early election."

"It is unnecessary, since I pledged my continued allegiance to the Gonzi administration till the end of the legislature before I voted in favour of the Cachia Caruana motion, but it appears that there are those who confuse Cachia Caruana's fortunes with those of the party and the country," he said.

PN Executive

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando yesterday accused PN executive president Marthese Portelli of 'doublespeak' over his letter demanding the expulsion of party strategist and outgoing permanent representative to the EU, Richard Cachia Caruana, from the PN.

Reacting to Portelli's comments in The Malta Independent, said: "I am not, in any way, denying that Dr Portelli has every right to chart the best way forward in any way she deems fit, but engaging in 'doublespeak' is incorrect."

Portelli said that the PN's executive committee will be following its usual procedure which places any recieved correspondence as a standard item on the agenda, adding that it will be then up to the executive to determine the way forward.

Speaking to MaltaToday last Sunday, Pullicino Orlando hit out at the PN executive committee president, who has so far indicated that the executive will "only be discussing" the letter he sent asking for Richard Cachia Caruana's expulsion as "mere correspondence" in the forthcoming 12 July meeting.

He said it was amply clear to him that the matter would not be discussed in the forthcoming meeting, but would be merely read out as "correspondence."

Pullicino Orlando reiterated yesterday that he had exchanged correspondence with with Portelli, telling her he required guidance as to the procedure to be adopted since he had to prepare his presentation and call witnesses. 

Pullicino Orlando said that "the issue will not be included in the agenda of the meeting to be held on 12 July... I have up to five witnesses who will corroborate what I said with regards to Cachia Caruana."

Asked as to whether he would continue to back government in the wake of speculation about moves within the party to have him expelled together with fellow MPs Franco Debono and Jesmond Mugliett, the Zebbug MP replied: "I have already indicated that I will continue to support the government till the end of the present legislature in my speech in Parliament."

However, Pullicino Orlando hit back as his critics, insisting that it is unheard of for democratic parties to censure their MPs for exercising their democratic rights in Parliament in any way they deem to be correct, even if that may be perceived by some as being against the party line. "Imagine if that were to happen in Britain or in Italy, where politicians in both countries regularly vote with opposing parties on certain issues," he said.

MARIO XUEREB
Prosit BONZI.. Ezatt, hekk hu.
Kalanc Qasamula
Li kieku Jeffrey hu dak ir-ragel li jghid li hu, l-ewwel daqqa jtiha hu. Mhux joqghod jistenna 'l hadd iehor itiehilu u wara joqghod inewwah u jixxotta xi demgha.
Kalanc Qasamula
Li kieku Jeffrey hu dak ir-ragel li jghid li hu, l-ewwel daqqa jtiha hu. Mhux joqghod jistenna 'l hadd iehor itiehilu u wara joqghod inewwah u jixxotta xi demgha.
louis fenech
JPO - inti gejt elett fil parlament f'isem il PN u trid timxi mal politika tal partit. dan jghodd ukoll ghal membri parlamentari kollha. Jekk il partit itik free vote ivvota kif thoss li huwa ahjar bhal fil kaz tal vot fuq id dovorzju, imma meta il partit jghidlek kif ghandek tivvota trid timxi ma dak l-obbligu u mhux tivvota kif trid. JPO tipprovax tqarraq bin nies - fuq il kwistjoni tad divorzju il membri kollha inghataw free vote u kullhadd ivvota skond il kuxjenza tieghu. It tlett "MUSKATEERS" iridu jitkeccew mil partit ghax m mxewx mal politika tal partit. Meta jitkeccew (fl-opinjoni tieghi nahseb li jitkeccew meta jerga jiltaqa il parlament fix xitwa), il prim ministru isejjah elezzjoni
Alfred Debattista
Min Gonzi pn sar P.N. kontra gonzi!!!!!
Oliver Grech
Just another baby act mid- dentist...2008 he cried now stamping his feet. Resign and be ashamed of yourself.
guido cutajar
@ rajah, Sewwa qeghed tghejd, pero kemm hemm aktar bhal J.P.O.fil P.N? U fejnhom dawk li is soltu jifthu halqhom ghax il P.N vergni pura ? Mela fejn jaqbillhom jitkellmu ? Dwar dawn il frejjeg ma jitkellmux ?
Micei
I hate to say I am getting the feeling of what comes round comes around. The PN bought Mintoff for money and he betrayed his own party by voting with the opposition and now what the PN has done has come around and as Dr. Sant eloquently put it the biter bit. Dak li ma tridux fuqek tghamlux lil ghajrek Dr. Gonzi e bella compania.
Mark Borg
Hadd wara hadd tasal ta' kulhadd. U xi nghidu ghall-PAR IDEJN SODI? Jaqbdek id-dahk meta tiftakar kemm dan il-PAR IDEJN SODI kien jiffanfra li bih f'Kastilja MOHNA MISTRIEH. Buffonata wara l-ohra. Carry on Lawrence and Co.
joseph busuttil
Kemm nixtieq li nkun naf x kien jikteb Parlaplupiano f zmien tal pont Manuel Dimech u l kaz tal Mistra. Xempju ta qabar imbajjad!
George Cutajar
Here we go again. If you expel me call an election. So says the great white hope and I, for once, completely agree. The PN should expel JPOS, Debono and Mugliette and simply bite the bullet. Whatever the outcome of the election the PN will come out stronger, cleaner and more united without these three mavericks. If JPOS statement is intended as some form of threat, which I take it to be so, than this guy simply does not know when to stop and go away. He should first start by renouncing to his salary as chairman of the Science Council and stop sucking up to Labour to feather his nest. He should then have the decency ( if that word still means anything), along with the other two, to simply resign their parliamentary seat and fade away into the sunset to be forgotten once and for all. Their silly antics, to be expected only from foot stomping children or disillusioned politicians, have become the joke of the town. Their personal agenda has been unveiled and it is useless for any of them to try and justify their betrayal.
fufa
Tinkwetax JPO. Dawk mhux se jkkeccuk mill-partit, tibzax. Kull ma se jaghmlu se jatghuk smack fuq il-pattatina. Bhalissa Daphne tal-Bidnija ghaddejja bi blitz kontra JPO. U mhux bilfors, jekk JPO nehhiela l-lasta u l-ixkupa minn bejn saqajha. Sahhara minghajr xkupa x'se taghmel? Aktar ma jghaddi z-zmien aktar qed johrog car kemm ghamilt sew u hlist lil Malta minn mazra.
GHAMJAILMEWT
MELA XI RRIDU FIL PARLAMENT? XI DITTATUR BHALL CHARLO BONNICI.
Anthony Azzopardi
QUOTE: "Secondly, a democratic party has no right whatsoever to censure an MP exercising his parliamentary duties in any way he deems fit. If the same were to happen in another European country all hell would break loose.” COMMENT: Malta is a two party unbalanced republic that allows the governing party to abuse its lame constitution. (1) A third party does not have the same rights to access parliamentary seats through the popular votes. The constitution calls for the party with the most popular votes within the two party system and not from the overall popular votes that the electorate chooses the right to exercise. (2) What is the use of having a third party when they know full well that their votes are irrelevant unless they can achieve a quota in one district? (3) What other democratic country’s constitution allows 4 extra seats in favour of the party that lost the election so that they can govern? Elections are decided by a majority of parliamentary seats won according to the 65 seats listed in the constitution. (4) By what democratic right do a few popular votes on one district entitle the governing administration to grant an extra seat to a candidate in another district? (5) By what democratic rights are candidates allowed to contesting more than one district and then when elected in two district they get to choose the constituents they prefer to represent according to party policy? (6) This democratic deficit has been planted since the changes in the constitution and it is about time that the people of this island agree that such abuse is stopped. (7) Is it any wonder that the consultants on the government side are regarded as wizards when it comes to abuse of power and the opposition remains oblivious to its chances of winning another general election? Such abuse is definitely an alarm that should be reported and brought to the attention of The Hague.
peppi x
There is no need for JPO to tell the Prime Minister, that if they expel him he has to call an election. It is the other way round, if he is expelled it means that the Prime Minister has already decided to call an election. And is the Nationalist Party going to discriminate against JPO or are they going to expel also Dr Debono, who had stated more than once that the Prim Minister has accepted him as a candidate for the next election? We have to wait to have an answer when the next Nationalist Executive meeting, which as we say in Maltese "kumbinazzjoni" is meeting the day after our Parliament will start it summer recess.
Jessica Smith
Guidocforte mela EFA ghadu jezisti?
Jessica Smith
Bonzi mhux biss, imma kif jghidu, dak li tisraq ma tgawdihx u hekk gralu Gonzipn. Seraq l-elezzjoni u hlief problemi kbar, interni, ta' Malta, ta' l-UE, ma kellux. Kif jghidu wkoll li Alla ma jhallasx bin-nhar ta' Sibt u dak li ghamlu lil Dr Sant gie fuqhom.
briffy@maltanet
Jeffrey...inutli li tibqa' tipprova tiddefendi il-vot tieghek mal-oppozizjoni fil-mozzjoni ta' RCC. Li qed tghid int fuq MPs fl-Ingilterra u l-Italja m'ghandu x'jaqsam xejn mal-kas ta' RCC jew tad-divorzju. Fid-divorzju kien hemm free vote, f'ta' RCC ma kienx hemm, u kont taf li jekk tivvota favur il-mozzjoni qed tmur kontra il-partit tieghek; u wkoll la ma kellekx free vote il-dover tieghek hu li tivvota mal-partit tieghek. U dan kont tafu imma gejt titmellah, basta infexxet fil-kwistjoni personali tieghek ma' RCC.
Jes Abela
Mhux hekk Sur JPO..... my way jew xejn. L-ebda partit politiku mghandu bzonn nies bhalek li jgibu l-interess personali qabel kollox. Imissek tisthi tradejt lil eluf ta votanti li ivvutawlek fl-ahhar elezzjoni generali. Akkost ta kollox PN must get rid off you yesterday .
Jes Abela
Mhux hekk Sur JPO..... my way jew xejn. L-ebda partit politiku mghandu bzonn nies bhalek li jgibu l-interess personali qabel kollox. Imissek tisthi tradejt lil eluf ta votanti li ivvutawlek fl-ahhar elezzjoni generali. Akkost ta kollox PN must get rid off you yesterday .
Carmel Xuereb
@guidocforte: Le siehbi jiena ma nahsibx bhalek li Gozni ser idoqq l-irtirata issa la JPO qallu hekk imma l-azzjonijiet ohra li qed jghid Gonzi ser ikunu li lil dawn it-tlieta u nahseb maghhom ser ikun hemm izjed deputati nkluzi hu li ma jhalluhom johorgu ghall-elezzjoni li jmiss mal-partit nazzjonalista. Dawn bhal grieden esperti li titfalhom kemm titfalhom tosklu ma jmutu qatt. Imma fl-ahhar irid jasal l-ahhar u t-tkaxkira hemm ser tkun.
xprun
U issa wasal l-istagun tal-kukki. Min ghandu u min m'ghandux, bejn Gonzi u JPO. Jien wisq nibza' li Gonzi jdoqq l-irtitata u jkompli jikkonferma kemm hu prim ministru giefa u bla kukki. Grazzi tad-divertiment, issa li spicca l-football!
Joseph Laus
U DAWN MHUX KOLLHA KUMMIEDJI MA NAFUX LI HEMM XI LOGHBA GOFFA FIN NOFS,,,,,,IDDECIEDU JPO,JM U FD DARBA GHALL DEJJEM HA IDDUMA TITNEJKU BIN NIES FLIMKIEN MAL PRIM KUMMIDJANT
Alfred Falzon
Will the PM call JPO's bluff?
guido cutajar
Issa nisperaw li ma jergax johrog ghan nofs il President Emeritus Dr.Edward Fenech Adami u jerga jghejd lil Gonzi PN. li anke dan qeghed jiblaffja, bhal ma ghamel Franco Debono...ghax nafu x`gara wara...
Pat Muscat
Dawn tal-klikka jibqghu jerdghu sa l-ahhar; ghalek biss iridu jibqghu hemm: ghala le, super 5 kull sena tghix u titkessah bhar-RE!
parla piu piano
Jiena ghandi nistenna biex forsi xi hadd jispjegali kif Jpo u Muljett saru f'daqqa wahda qaddisin u l-Paladini u l-pampaluni tal-poplu u tad-demokrazija. Mela l-poplu tan-NEJK. Mhux minn ghalikom li ghax ghandkom xi erba ittri wara isimkom tahsbu li hadd ma ghadu jiftakar l-fatti moqzieza tal-Mistra u tal-PONT MANUEL DIMECH. Ghadkom ma xbajtux tuzaw is-siggu li taghkom il-poplu ghal-avanz tal-but taghkom u tal-pozizjoni taghkom.
Charles Mifsud
What goes round must come round.
parla piu piano
Jiena ghandi nistenna biex forsi xi hadd jispjegali kif Jpo u Muljett saru f'daqqa wahda qaddisin u l-Paladini u l-pampaluni tal-poplu u tad-demokrazija. Mela l-poplu tan-NEJK. Mhux minn ghalikom li ghax ghandkom xi erba ittri wara isimkom tahsbu li hadd ma ghadu jiftakar l-fatti moqzieza tal-
Anthony Busuttil
Il pjacir tieghi mhux biss li GONZIPN wasal f'dan kollu imma l-aktar pjacir tieghu huwa li qed jahsdu il frott ta dak li zerghu kontra Alfred Sant. Il-Passjoni li ghada minnha Dr Sant issa qeda fuqhom. Il Malti jghid li dak li tizargha tahsad. Gonzi ma haqqux ahjar ghax lill poplu injorah kompletament. Dak kollu li Franco debono ghadda minnu sarlu suf ghax jumejn ohra ikeccuh kif kien jghidlu kullhadd. Imissu nduna li Schiavone se jkun il kandidat tad distrett. Waqt li Gonzi jghid li Schiavone mhux se johrog dan kien ghaddej bil home visits.
guido cutajar
Fl`ahhar faqqet, Issa jew GonziPN idoqq l-irtirata, u ikollu ibus l-id li jixtieqha maqtuha,jew ibati il konsegwenzi....Issa qeghdin naraw is sinjal ta `Z `...le mhux Zebbug...imma ZORRO...Nistennew bil herqa x`ser jigri..Isma Jef....sa kemm tajthom data ? sa sena ohra ?