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PN supporters urge Franco Debono to step in and save the party

Franco Debono publishes messages from PN supporters urging him to return to his old party, but refuses to speak of future plans

tim_diacono
Tim Diacono
5 June 2017, 7:30pm
Former Nationalist MP Franco Debono said he has been swamped by messages from PN supporters, urging him to return to the party fold in the wake of its disastrous election result.

Contacted by MaltaToday, Debono said that he had received over 200 private messages of support from PN supporters as well as several phonecalls since Sunday, including from a councillor, the president of one of the PN’s sectional committees, and several paid party members.

However, he refused to be drawn into whether he envisions a return to the party, arguing that “I am just listening for now”.

“These messages were spontaneous and emotional and came completely out of the blue. I had told someone high up in the PN’s structures how surprised I was, and he responded that he wasn’t surprised at all.”

Debono has published some of these messages of support on his Facebook wall.

One message reads: “I was one of those people who disagreed with you back in 2012, but I have now realized how right you were. I believe that your input will be very relevant to the party, in whatever role you are in.”

“Come back Franco…the party needs you…we have lost all faith and hope in the PN and you are now our only hope,” reads another.

 

Debono was appointed Commissioner for Laws upon the election to power of Labour in 2013, after the MP effectively brought the Gonzi administration down when he voted against the Budget Measures Implementation Bill of December 2012. Debono had broken ranks with the PN administration, which had been elected in 2008 with just a one-seat majority.

As an MP, he relentlessly criticised the Gonzi administration for its track record on justice reform, and after 2013 – where he was tasked to preside a constitutional reform commission that never picked up steam – he openly criticised the Opposition and took a stand in favour of the Muscat administration.

 

Debono said last year he would consider standing for Labour on the fifth district, but ultimately decided not to.

He told MaltaToday that the PN’s defeat – by a similar margin to its 2013 defeat – proves that he wasn’t the cause of his old party’s downfall four years ago.

“I was elected as the PN’s youngest MP back in 2008…the people showed trust me and saw potential me,” he said. “Yet I wasn’t allowed to work on constitutional reform by the same group of people that have now led the PN to this catastrophe.

“If the problem really lied with me then people would have gone back to the PN after I had gone, but they lost by 35,000 votes again. There’s a lot of anger amongst PN fans and they’re now sayng what I used to say in the past – that the party cannot continue to be run by the same four people, with the reins passing on from father to son.”

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