Cacopardo: AD didn’t want to join list of undesirable candidates on PN ticket

Malta’s Green Party registered a lacklustre performance in this year’s election, but Carmel Cacopardo has no regrets over not joining the ‘tainted’ PN ticket

Carmel Cacopardo (left) with AD chairperson Arnold Cassola
Carmel Cacopardo (left) with AD chairperson Arnold Cassola

Alternattiva Demokratika’s deputy chairperson Carmel Cacopardo has stood by his party’s decision not to join the PN ballot, saying the Green Party’s record stood to be tainted by the PN’s own governance problems.

AD’s share of the national vote went from 1.8 per cent in 2013 to 0.83 per cent this year, a heavy blow which Cacopardo says was directly linked to AD not accepting to form part of the PN-led ‘Front Nazzjonali’ which allowed PD candidates to contest on its ballot.

PD leader and former Labour MP Marlene Farrugia was however elected to the House from the 10th district, a Nationalist stronghold which has in the past elected AD candidates to its local council.

Cacopardo however said AD was not willing to be “lumped with undesirable situations and undesirable candidates” for the sake of bolstering the PN’s electoral fortunes.

“The future for AD holds great potential. In the coming months changes will be made but these will be carried out at AD’s pace. These changes are an essential prerequisite for ensuring that AD can function more effectively and efficiently in such a way that it can communicate better with its voter base.”

Cacopardo said AD’s major weakness tends to be its organisational limits to keep its voter base intact, and a tendency to concentrate all activity within its sole institutional arm, the executive committee.

“It is the reason why AD has not been able to tap adequately and successfully into voter dissatisfaction with other political parties over the years. Having sound principles is fine, but not having the organisational tools to propagate your views and effectively link up with grass-roots support is damaging,” Cacopardo said.

He said this lack of organisational capability meant that while AD could take the political decision to join a pre-electoral alliance, it could not adequately handle the consequences of this decision.

“We were worried that the PN proposal to add AD and as an appendage to the PN was unacceptable on a point of principle, and would inevitably lead to being lumped with undesirable situations such as unacceptable policy positions as well as undesirable candidates. We were not prepared to take such a risk.

“Unfortunately, we were proven right, for example, through the selection by the PN of homophobic candidate Josie Muscat as well as through policy declarations by both Marlene Farrugia and Simon Busuttil in favour of spring hunting and bird-trapping, as well as contradictory stances on the motor racing track, or Simon Busuttil’s emphasis on the tunnel between Malta and Gozo with which AD disagrees,” Cacopardo said.

The Green Party deputy chairperson also said the Democratic Party was not troubled by the PN’s own governance issues, citing MP Claudio Grech’s ‘amnesia’ over meetings with George Farrugia in the Enemalta oil scandal, Beppe Fenech Adami’s fiduciary role on CapitalOne, Mario de Marco’s conflict of interest with db Group, as well as Simon Busuttil’s mishandling of the db Group invoices saga.

“In AD’s view they were a serious impediment to the proper functioning of a pre-election alliance, as they run directly opposite to an electoral platform based on good governance.

“We raised all this during the exploratory talks held with the PN, but the PN delegation dismissed these concerns outright. Given the above, Alternattiva Demokratika took the right decision in not joining the PN-led National Front.”

In 2003 AD registered its worst performance in 2003 when Malta was voting right after an EU referendum, 0.69 per cent, before claiming a staggering 9.33 per cent of the popular vote in the 2004 European Parliament elections, just 12 months later.