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Labour leadership concerned but unwilling to block former secretary-general’s candidature

Jason Micallef refuses to resign as One TV chairman.

James Debono
7 August 2012, 12:00am
Coming to a constituency near you: former Labour secretary-general Jason Micallef. Photo: Ray Attard/Mediatoday.
The decision by Labour's former secretary-general Jason Micallef to announce his candidature has shocked Labour's kitchen cabinet but the party's top brass are reluctant to ask him to resign from his post as chairman of Labour's broadcasting arm One TV.

As party secretary-general, Micallef had in the past imposed that all staff at One TV should resign from their posts if they chose to stand as candidates.

But Micallef has since strained relations with many of Joseph Muscat's lieutenants and his relations with the party leader are considered to be far from good.

The decision by the PL administration to appoint Micallef as chairman of One TV was interpreted as a sop to convince Micallef to move out quietly from the PL's administration.

Members of Muscat's inner circle describe Micallef as a "loose cannon" due to what they perceive is his boisterousness and owing to the fact that he tends to put himself in the limelight with an ostentatious lifestyle: his personal vehicle, a Mercedes Benz, seems to have fuelled this perception among some Labour insiders.

But more importantly, his decision to put forward his candidature comes after Muscat publicly thanked him in the last general conference for deciding not to stand for the national elections.

The sudden change of heart has shocked the PL administration.

Sources at One TV told MaltaToday that Jason Micallef refuses to resign as chairman of One TV, even though the post creates a conflict of interest with his candidature.

Micallef believes that he has a good chance of winning, though he is up against deep-seated or so called 'star candidates' in the Mosta constituency which all come armed with the vote-winning 'blessing' of the party leadership. 

His relations are not only strained with many of Muscat's inner circle, but more importantly with deputy leader Anglu Farrugia, who is a heavyweight candidate and parliamentarian renowned to have clashed with Micallef. 

The other parliamentarians in the constituency are hospital paramedic and MP Anthony Agius Decelis, and GP Michael Farrugia, who is now being threatened by the arrival of 'star candidate' Deborah Schembri, the pro-divorce campaigner and former Nationalist who jumped on the Labour bandwagon and stands a good chance of attracting disgruntled Nationalist voters.

With such strong candidates, Micallef will struggle to get elected, and the next few weeks will determine whether he will stay on or leave as chairman of One TV.

James Debono is MaltaToday's chief reporter on environment, planning and land use issues, ...
gordon scicluna
but Jason is chairman and not exactly being seen daily expressing himself about this and that on TV screen. His work is much behind the scenes, and at present without a clear election date, and when TV stations are working hard for their october schedule, I think it would be unwise to change chairman anyways.
m borg
James have you been browsing local Forums lately as your article is a complete copy of a post in one of them. Where did you get all this info? Must have a mole in PL Eh!?
m borg
Jason might have announced his candidature for the next general elections but he has still needs to get the party delegates approval of 60%. He needs more than behave himself if he has any ambitions.
Toninu
Bhal kull individwu iehor Joson Micallef ghandu kull dritt jikkontesta l-elezzjoni generali, biss ma nahsibx li jkun ghaqli li jibqa jokkupa l-kariga ta Chairman ta One TV f'dan iz-zmien ta kampanja elettorali.
Alex
let him contest...so finally he can take off that stupid smile from his face!
Silvia Azzopardi
Nemmen li Jason ghandu cans tajjeb ghax ragel tal-partit u ghandu hafna nies vicin tieghu, minkejja li xi uhud ghandhom interess iehor ghax jafu l-kapacitajiet tieghu. Inhossni nkwetata meta nara certu kummenti ta nies li hsiebhom biss biex jaghmlu l-hsara lil haddiehor. Nibqa skantanta kif dawn l-istess nies isibu l-hin sabiex jattakkaw u jhamgu bla ebda riservi. Tghid forsi din kollha rabja u ghijra ghax jafu li dan il-bniedem ghandu cans ? 'What goes around comes around'
P G
Let him contest and let the PL electorate decide whether they want him or Dr. Deborah Schembri to represent them in parliament. I'm quite sure he won't stand a chance of being elected.
Mario Attard
Nahseb li ahjar jinbet Partit iehor ghaliex donnu iz-zewgt partiti ma tantx ghad fadal x'taghzel fihom. Nahseb ukoll li hemm gia beda jahtaf fiz-zewgt partiti l-kbar,jitwarbu u jintremew dawk li huma ftit ta stoffa fis-saffi kollha tal-istruttura tal-partiti. li tkun floater aktar ghandek cans li jssalva milli tkun staunch. Meta tkun staunch int tigi mehhud for granted u naf x'qed nghid. Pero hadd ma ghandu jabbuza u jiehu xi haga for granted.
Samuel Falzon
What's this fuss all about? Anyone with a decent political compass, would understand that Labour Leader Joseph Muscat is also offering a choice to the labour hard-core in every district.. and it's not just Jason Micallef.. All though I have to say that Micallef is a Labour stalwart and one of his greatest attributes is his experience in the communications depot. This will surely help Labour's presence in a hard fought campaign. Well done to the LP for doing good strategy moves.. finally a breath of fresh air.
Charles Mifsud
I agree with salgister. Jason talks too much, brags too much, and i put the 2008 defeat squarely (but jointly) on his shortsightedness and over-confidence as chief political officer of the party. To rub salt in the wound, he insulted the Labourites after the election. He should be allowed to contest, but the electorate should be wary to whom their vote should go. We want stability in a future Labour administration, not one who speaks his mind, and says silly things at that. He is not fit to form part of a Labour parliamentary group.
Martin Scicluna
Dan min hu biex jibqa jaghmel li jrid? Ara jtelfux xi elezzjoni ohra lil labour dal-bravu.
Vincent Galea
As long as he keeps his mouth shut there is nothing wrong. OLD TIMER
salgister
@Bonz. I don't agree with you! After insulting all the labourites after the election on Xarabank, he had the gall to be a candidate for the PL. He is a big mouth and pompous. One thing for sure, I won't like him to represent me. He's a very loose cannon more than Franco Debono!
gordon scicluna
I think Jason could be valid both as a candidate and in his present role. And Joseph Muscat is the ideal person to harness the skills of such individuals.
Martin Vella
I love democracy,its beautiful,good luck Jason.
lupus
James, with all due respect, Dr Farrugia said quite the opposite about JM in an interview with Andrew Azzopardi. Q (AA): il-fatt li Jason Micallef ghadu kif habbar li ha jikkontesta l-elezzjoni fuq l-istess distrett tieghek jikkonfondik? A (AF): Dwar Jason Micallef dan hadem fil-Partit, nemmen li ghandu dritt li jikkontesta u jiena stess meta tkellimna, tajtu l-appogg tieghi biex johrog. Jiena ma jikkonfondini hadd ghax il-poplu jaghzel fil-liberta’ tieghu dak li jahseb l-ahjar li jista’ jirrapprezentah fl-interess nazzjonali. Let's get the facts right please...there is enough twisting and turning in this so-called country!
jesmond
kullhadd jibla l kummiedji li jghid in net tv ..jattakkaw lil jason ghax bl argumenti dejjem farrakhom , specjalment fuq in nasses ta xarabank....issa hudu ftit pacenzja , u stennew id deczjoni tal elettorat.
Anthony Busuttil
Whats wrong about Jason Micallef? Why all this hate? even within the PL. Jason is first a true PARTY man, his party comes first. he is humble and loved by his staff. He is successful at ONE. Full of energy, may that's what makes his opponents hate him ,that is the word hate him. GONZIPN they don't need to worry, they have a sack of unpopular Ministers and candidates. The reason for hating Jason is because he went all the ladder, he was close with Alfred Sant, he has a good tongue, he makes thing moving. Jason as a PL MP it will be a good asset and the labour supporters of Mosta and Naxxar should consider Jason as their preference, they will have a guarantee that their MP will raise their voice. Jason I wish I can give my first preference. and PL please shut up and work for a victory.
S Scerri
Dan jghid li jhobb il PL, Jason il-PL mhux tieghek u ieqaf ipprova ahtfu ghax hsara biss qed tghamel. Warrab u ohrog halli jkun il-polplu li jiggudikak. Mela ghalik ma jghoddux ir-regolamenti li tant kont tirsisti ghalihom ma haddiehor. Nittama li Joseph Muscat finalment jiehu hsieb li jpoggiek f' postok
fufa
La tasal l-elezzjoni, il-laburisti jafu lil min ghandhom jaghtuh il-vot. L-arroganza u l-kummiedji ghandhom jispiccaw minn nahha tal-politikanti. Taz-zewg nahhat.