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[WATCH] Nationalist Party leadership debates

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matthew_vella
Matthew Vella
24 August 2017, 9:10pm
Last updated on 24 August 2017, 9:31pm
All set to debate: Adrian Delia, Alex Perici Calascione, Frank Portelli, and Chris Said. Photo: James Bianchi
All set to debate: Adrian Delia, Alex Perici Calascione, Frank Portelli, and Chris Said. Photo: James Bianchi
OPENING REMARKS

Adrian Delia The PN’s agenda in these years has been overtaken… personal attacks on me have led me file a defamation case. I have denied owning offshore accounts. Senseless, preposterous allegations that I am involved in accounts tied to property used for prostitution, force me to take legal action again. It’s been suggested I have financial problems… it is untrue, so in the coming days I will be presenting my declaration of assets upon consultation with my auditors.

Alex Perici Calascione I will involve as many people as possible in the party to bring their winning qualities together.

Frank Portelli We lost in 2013 and 2017, and a further two seats. If we keep going this way, we will lose a third time – because we have lost our way. We don’t need to go back to the drawing board, or a new way – we need back to basics, a road based on principles, and convinced people this is the way forward.

Chris Said My decision to run for leader is based on my conviction that my experience, from youth work to ministerial level, to bring this party back on its feet, and make it a winning party. I want this experience to bring unity in this party, strengthen it and win.

Jes Saliba is moderating the debate
Jes Saliba is moderating the debate
First question: Josianne Camilleri from Newsbook

What is your vision for the PN?

Chris Said This is a party that is based on a Christian identity, social justice, working towards the common good, which has been forgotten by the Labour government; the right to life, from beginning to end, human rights and the value of work. We must reaffirm what we believe in, and earn the respect of those who don’t agree with us – for they will now what we stand for.

Frank Portelli Solidarity means we must succour those in need. These are pensioners. 60,000 of them are on the edge of poverty, and what do we do? We give our public lands to millionaires – Smart City, White Rocks, ITS… - and we don’t build one single apartment for our youths.

Alex Perici Calasione There is nothing to change from the PN’s seminal ‘Fhemiet Bazici’ document. We not a confessional party. These values are applicable universally. Our challenge today is to apply these values to the realities of the Maltese today.

Adrian Delia The PN’s problem is that in the last years… is not that it is not the party of values, but how to truly apply these values to the realities of the Maltese.

Don't say anything silly, Frank... Photo: James Bianchi
Don't say anything silly, Frank... Photo: James Bianchi
Second question: Neil Camilleri from The Malta Independent

What will you do on the alliance with the PD and do you think this was a mistake?

Frank Portelli I wasn’t against the coalition. There could have been more consensus, because it seems the decision was taken from the top. Subsidiarity was not applied. I would continue the coalition and see whether anything of positive value can be taken from it. I like Marlene Farrugia, personally.

Chris Said The circumstances were what they were when the coalition happened, at a time when the election was upon us. It was a good decision at the time. As leader, I will retain the best possible collaboration with the two PD MPs, but in the next election I want the PN not to need a coalition, which is why we need a strong and prepared party – a party for the people.

Adrian Delia I didn’t agree at the time. The political message was that the PN was unable to win the election. What bothers me was the PN’s conviction that this alliance would have allowed it to succeed, but it was based on some very incorrect math. We need to invest more in having the right information on voters.

Alex Perici Calascione I understood the logic of the coalition at the time. As party leader, I will respect all party organs – in this case, the executive – to discuss the future of this coalition. I will take the executive’s verdict to the PN whether to continue or dissolve the alliance.

Adrian Delia and Alex Perici Calascione. Photo: James Bianchi
Adrian Delia and Alex Perici Calascione. Photo: James Bianchi
Third question: Keith Micallef from The Times of Malta

What will be your position if the PN does not make any inroads in the forthcoming European Parliament and local council elections? Would you reconsider your position?

Alex Perici Calascione These elections are a challenge indeed. But irrespectively, we must forge ahead with investing in our electoral machine. If we lose, I won’t resign. My plan is a long-term one.

Adrian Delia No – in 20 months’ a new leader should not take such a decision based on these results. What I’ve been witnessing in this campaign is understanding people, gauging the sensation of our party members, who have been incredulous at the last electoral result, but which has now changed into one of determination. Despite the losses, this party is made up of determined people, and we must work towards succeeding.

Chris said It is a very important test – two national elections. There is much work to be done. We need a system of streetleaders and the structure of Elcom, to be organised, to analyse data and polls, and to be well-staffed and have its resources. I will go into these elections determined to achieve a good result. In the 2015 local council elections, I was secretary-general and in charge of that campaign: we won back almost half of the vote we had lost in the previous round.

Frank Portelli If I don’t manage to win 20,000 votes in the next two years – three votes a day – I won’t stay on. It would have been my first test.

Chris Said. Photo: James Bianchi
Chris Said. Photo: James Bianchi
Fourth question: Yannick Pace from MaltaToday

What is the ideological space the PN must occupy; and what problem do you want to solve for the Maltese – what would be your legacy?

Adrian Delia The diversity of the PN is what makes us a united party. Labour does not see what is right or wrong, what principles or values, or whether it will create long-term damages. It seeks convenience, votes, and the immediacy of its populist decisions. So the space we must occupy is the conviction of minds and winning hearts.

Alex Perici Calascione For me, it is clear as crystal: a politician’s work is measured only by how much he improved people’s lives and the country. It starts and stops there. Parties will be judged by how they improved the lives of others.

Frank Portelli The principle is solidarity. That is what I would like to be remembered by. I want to give a living wage to youths. People say the poor will always be beside us. Not if the PN is elected. And I will put an end to political vindications.

Chris Said The PN’s legacy is its 140-year history. I want to see this party regain a vision that is steps ahead of what is happening in society. This is what the PN once had, with people following this vision. In the last years, society changed at a faster pace and instead of leading, the PN simply reacted, at times late, and at other times in egregious ways. That is why we need a study to map out how society will change in the next 15 years, and have a group of thinkers, students, workers, and women who constantly inspire the party with new ideas. Once that happens, we will once again become electable. I mention some particular problems in Malta: space - traffic - urban sprawl - infrastructure. Here we must have the kind of vision to solve these problems.

Photo by James Bianchi
Photo by James Bianchi
 

 

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.