Q&A | Sticking to political beliefs | Karol Aquilina

Siggiewi mayor Karol Aquilina wants to move from local government to national politics. He insists that it is possible to stick to one’s own beliefs while being receptive to other people’s ideas and beliefs

Karol Aquilina
Karol Aquilina

How did you first get involved in politics?

My first significant political involvement was in the campaign for Malta’s membership in the European Union. At the time, I was serving as President of the National Youth Council, an umbrella organization representing Maltese youths across the political divide. 

Which part of the political life appeals to you?

Contributing to improve people’s lives has always been my aim in politics. I have already had the privilege to do so in my role as Mayor of Siġġiewi for the past five years. Now I look forward to do the same and much more as a Member of Parliament representing not only Siġġiewi but also Qormi, Luqa and the localities forming part of the 10th District. It would be a great privilege and an honour to have the experience and opportunity to represent my constituents in the highest institution of our country in what is bound to be an eventful five-year term.

Why PN?

I subscribe to PN’s values and I believe that these serve the country best. The Nationalist Party has a proven track record, competence and commitment in job creation, health, education and environment protection. It is also clear that the Nationalist Party is the only party with an over-riding plan to fight institutionalised corruption, making it the right choice in this critical juncture our country is facing.

If elected, what do you personally hope to change?

I hope to contribute towards the development of a more consensual approach in public life. My experience on a local council level dictates that this is more possible than it would appear to be and is very beneficial. I strongly believe that an honest politician should stick to his political beliefs whilst being receptive to the views and knowledge of others.

Based on your door-to-door encounters, what are the top three concerns of families?

Corruption, dishonesty and the damage being done to Malta’s reputation and its impact on people’s livelihood. People are extremely worried about the ongoing political crisis which has not only led to a snap election but also to a period of political and economic instability. They are also worried about the long-term consequences all this will have on crucial areas of our economy such as the financial services, gaming and construction industry.

The PN said that this election is going to be fought on principles: what do you think matters most to the electorate?

The electorate longs for an honest politician who can steer our country in the right direction and do away with political machinations and partisan decisions. I believe that the right man for this job is Simon Busuttil, an honest and dedicated politician who has what it takes to be Malta’s next Prime Minister.

The Labour Party is accusing the PN of presenting proposals which are either not costed or which have already been proposed/implemented by the Labour government. Do you think that this is fair criticism?

The PN has put together sound and viable electoral proposals aimed at ensuring economic growth, social cohesion and good governance. The accusation that the PN’s proposals are not costed is simply not true. I hope that Labour does not think that a measure proposed by them becomes wrong if and when the PN improves it.

The PN has many a times criticised the Labour government of having given individuals jobs and positions, disregarding the principle of meritocracy. How would a PN government ensure that jobs are not given to individuals simply because of their political affiliation?

Besides the promised mechanism for the appointment of key posts following a Parliamentary qualified majority, a PN-led administration will not place its Members of Parliament to chair public bodies nor will it interfere in the selection processes.

Which, in your opinion, was the government’s best decision and worst mistake over the past four years?

The best decision was the removal of prescription on acts of political corruption. The government’s worst mistake was its deliberate decision to squander the opportunity, provided by the huge majority and good will it enjoyed, to improve governance.

Which, in your opinion, was the opposition’s best decision and worst mistake over the past four years?

The opposition’s best decision was to put together a document with 100 proposals on sound and accountable governance. The worst mistake was to give the benefit of the doubt to Joseph Muscat in some instances of the legislature when it was evident that the man was in it for his own personal gain.