[WATCH] 'I choose Malta': Busuttil launches PN election campaign

The Nationalist Party leader questioned why a government that can boast the largest parliamentary majority in Malta's political history needed to call an election more than a year early

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil

The Nationalist Party this evening launched its electoral campaign following the announcement by the Prime Minister earlier today, that the country will be heading to the polls on 3 June.

Addressing a press conference at the Nationalist Party headquarters, Busuttil, flanked by PN and Partit Demokratiku candidates question why a government that had the largest parliamentary majority in history needed to call an election more than a year early and vowed to clean up politics if elected.

Busuttil announced that a rally will be held at the party's headquarters on Tuesday, with a mass meeting scheduled for Sunday, adding that these were extraordinary circumstances that would give people the opportunity to choose between Joseph Muscat and the country.

"They could have stayed in till next June," he said. "They had the largest parliamentary majority in history."

Busuttil added that the fact Malta is currently in the middle of the presidency of the council of Europe raises even more.

"It is because he is leading the most corrupt government in history," said Busuttil. "It is because he wasn't thinking of the country but of himself"

He said corruption had brought on stagnation and instability in the country and that Muscat should have resigned and had a new Prime Minister appointed until the magisterial inquiry was concluded, if stability was his main concern.

"The country would have regained the stability is has lost under Muscat in this way," he said.

"People are asking why did Muscat not wait for the result of the inquiry, and what happens if after the election the inquiry finds wrongdoing by Muscat or Keith Schembri?"

He stressed that the Prime Minister was only trying to win an election to save himself and for investigations to end.

"He knows that to save his skin he must won't an election," said Busuttil. "There is not doubt he will do whatever he can to win."

Busuttil said that despite the fact that it is clear the newly christened coalition is ready for the election and will be putting forward proposals for the good of everyone in the country.

"We want to introduce a sense of equality and to improve people's quality of life on issues like traffic and the environment, and to clean up the political system once and for all," he said.

Replying to journalists’ questions Busuttil said he was not surprised by the announcement since the country is currently experiencing great instability and uncertainty.

“The rope has tightened round the government’s neck because of the grave allegations coming out on a daily basis,” he said. “It was almost left with no alternative.”

Asked whether, given that the election may take place before the conclusion of the magisterial inquiry, he would be publishing any documents he may have presented to magistrate Aaron Bugeja or which he might have received over the last month, in order to convince those who were still asking for proof, Busuttil said he would continue to conduct himself in a “serious manner”.

“When I received proof that keith Schembri had taken kickbacks from the sale of Maltese citizenship, I called a press conference and announced what information I had received for everyone to be informed,” he said. “I also said that I would be taking the information to the magistrate because that is what it means to do things in serious manner.”

He reiterated that he was promising protection to anyone coming forward with more information about corruption, and that he was convinced that more evidence would soon surface.  

“These people have done so many things that more will come out,” he said, adding that with many had come forward with information in the last few days. “If I feel that the information is of substance and comes with proof, then I will release this information as well, so I have no doubt that we will be hearing more.”


Monitoring the electoral system

Busuttil said that the PN would be monitoring events closely and stressed that the Prime Minister, having asked for parliament to be dissolved, would now have less powers.

"This is now only a caretaker government," he stressed, adding that the PN would be calling out any attempts to buy votes through its power of Incumbency.