In from the cold? Franco Debono hints at party rapprochement

MEP Simon Busuttil says he welcomes conciliatory tone by Nationalist MP ousted from electoral list.

Stepping towards reconciliation - that's the impression being given by Franco Debono and Simon Busuttil. Photo: Ray Attard/Mediatoday.
Stepping towards reconciliation - that's the impression being given by Franco Debono and Simon Busuttil. Photo: Ray Attard/Mediatoday.

The MP who until a few weeks ago was adamant to vote against the government in the upcoming budget as long as transport minister Austin Gatt stays on in the Cabinet, may be wavering in his principled stance.

His latest post on his personal blog yesterday set much store in talk of "reconciliation" inside the PN as the party faces an upcoming deputy leadership contest following the appointment as commissioner-designate of foreign minister and deputy leader Tonio Borg.

"The one thing the PN desperately needs is a process of reconciliation with all thoser thousands of people have left the party. And it is a mammoth task. That is why PN has lost badly in all appointments with the electorate, because of Austin [Gatt]'s confrontational methods had taken over the party," Debono said in another pot-shot at his nemesis.

"Reconciliation is the magic word. Reconciliation means meritocracy and equal treatment, independently of who your father or grandfather is. It is obvious that the greatest reform within the party would take place after the general election, but right now and as a first step: reconciliation," said the MP who has been banned from running the PN ticket after having voted with the Opposition to oust home affairs minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici in a vote of no-confidence.

Debono has also filed a motion of no-confidence against Austin Gatt, which is not yet scheduled for debate in the House.

With the a budget scheduled for end-November, the Nationalist government's date with destiny might not turn out to be as momentous as expected after Debono categorically ruled out supporting Lawrence Gonzi's government with Austin Gatt staying on as minister.

But the rebel MP's conciliatory tone was latched upon by deputy leadership aspirant and Nationalist MEP Simon Busuttil, who said on Nationalist radio 101 that Debono had "taken responsibility for his actions" and that in a recent "amicable" meeting he had found the MP "very conciliatory".

"I say that if there is a possibility for reconciliation and unity, not just with Franco but with everybody who is hurt, we must take that step. The people want it. I'm not saying people must not take responsibility [for their actions], but there can still be a way of seeing unity win over division," Busuttil said.

Up until the beginning of October, Franco Debono had declared to the House Business Committee that his resolve not to support the budget - which requires a majority for the government to survive beyond November - had been strengthened by the government's decision to forge ahead with a €12 million lease-and-buy deal for the private St Philip's Hospital.

Then this week he kept his cards close to his chest on whether he will still vote against the budget should Gatt stay on as minister. An evasive Debono pointed to the no-confidence motion against Austin Gatt which he tabled on 4 October over various shortcomings in the transport and other sectors that falls under the minister's responsibility. "You should draw your own conclusions from that," Debono told MaltaToday without explicitly confirming whether he would abstain or vote against the upcoming budget.

Debono has been insisting the government does not enjoy his support or his vote in favour of the budget as long as Gatt stays on as minister, since summer. He last mentioned he would vote against the budget on 15 October in his personal blog.

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Luke Camilleri
Tahsbu.... jew jahseb li jigi accettat lura fil-PN , Dr. Franco Debono li anki wasal biex qal il Beppe FENECH ADAMI li gideb faxxi fuqu kif gideb missieru l'Emeritus EDDIE FENECH ADAMI, kien gideb gideb fahxi fuq Dr. Alfred Sant???? B'idejh miftuha sejjer jilqgh l'Ezekuttiv tal-PN......
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Possibbli Franco m'ntix tinduna. Jekk johdulekk l- vot ta l-estimi, kollox ikun mitmum ghalik. Imbaghad ma jkunx hemm problemi ghalihom. Ikunu jistghu jibqghu hemm sa l -ahhar- Marzu/April/Mejju. Tkunx bahnan. Jekk taqa ghal din in-nasba, ser tibqa msemmi fl-annali komici tat- tfal Maltin. Wara l-istorja ta' Gahan u l- Bieb issa jkollhom ohra gdida. - Franco u s- Siggu!!!!
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Franco Debono, it looks like Austin Gatt is going to do it to you again. Austin Gatt has no intention of leaving and or resigning, but then you knew that from the start. You have made too many enemies in the PN Party and it seems like Mep Simon Busuttil is your only friend left. On the other hand you still have a lot of friends on the outside. Now if only you can make up your mind and stop swaying back and forth. You made a threat! Do you have what it takes to carry it out? The people want to know. Say what you mean and mean what you say. No Flip flop.
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franco Debono tiga ghata jien kemm il darba li int pecluq kont, pecluq ghadek u pecluq tipqa, u jekk hawn xi hadd jahseb li il LP qied jistena lil dan il pulcinel biex jamel xi haga, hazin sejrin, izjed ma gonzipn idum fil poter izjed jinqala hmieg.J'alla franco jipqa isservi ta pecluq.
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Jghidu x'jghidu u jaghmlu x'jaghmlu Franco u ta Gonzi PN, id-demm lahaq inxtered. Saru wisq akkuzi serji biex wiehed jinsa qiesu qatt ma gara xejn.
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Yes, I believe Simon was being shown his place by the real power brokers. They let him know, in no uncertain terms, that his is just an accommodating appointment without real teeth. I have noted many times that his anointment will kill his real chances of success.
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milli jidher ser jibqa f wicc tal lejber. mela ma ghadux aktar l eroj taghkom?
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Single-handed you may manage to change history yet. Goodluck.
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In the way that the Nationalist Party reacted to Simon Busuttil's offer of reconciliation it seems that Busuttil acted without the knowledge of his party... who indirectly rebuked him for what he said.
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San Pawl kien ikkonverta fit-triq ta' Damasku u Franco ikkonverta fi Triq ir-Repubblika wara sejha ta Xmun Busuttil. Heq, f'did-dinja kollox possibli!
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What Simon Busuttil said was simply about re-confirming his continuous support for unity within the PN.
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Franco, we hope you're not a chihuahua!!!!
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FD simply proving he doesn't have any balls at all. Big mouth with no substance.
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Whatever you do Franco nobody take you seriously any more.
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Hey Franco! It seems that as the budget day is approaching fast you are getting cold feet and you want to change your position not to be blamed for bringing down the government. No wonder. I think it was EFA who gave the prime minister the advice to call your bluff. As the saying goes “empty vessels make most sound”. Remember all the fuss you made against RCC and when the time of the test came up, you got cold feet and did not use your vote to remove him. Not to mention the vote on Austin Gatt also last year. In my opinion it is useless to try to reconcile with the GonziPN as they will use you and then throw you away like a squeezed lemon.
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I thought gonzi was visiting peoples kitchen to reconciliate or was it just a speech before his one man show leader election?
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