Franco Debono excludes PN election candidature

Former Nationalist MP Franco Debono rules out running for the election but thanks PN leader Bernard Grech for saying he does not exclude his candidature

Franco Debono
Franco Debono

Franco Debono has ruled out a Nationalist Party candidature for the 26 March general election, not excluding more active participation in the future.

Debono shut down speculation that has been going on for the past few days that he may contest the election with the PN in a Facebook post on Monday.

“While I do not exclude more active participation in the future, at this stage I rule out taking the step, which the Opposition leader did not exclude; I salute him and thank him and wish him every success,” Debono wrote, adding that he was overwhelmed with the number of people who encouraged him to contest.

Debono became a pariah within the PN after he brought down the Gonzi government in 2012 when he voted against the budget over differences with the party.

Debono had pushed for various judicial reforms throughout the legislature but his efforts were repulsed by the Gonzi administration. He had also voted with the Labour Opposition of the time in a motion of no confidence in home affairs minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici.

Speculation was rife over the past week that Debono may be tempted to contest the coming election with the PN, especially in the wake of key departures from the party’s candidate list.

The speculation was further fuelled by PN leader Bernard Grech, who when asked about a Debono candidature, did not exclude the possibility.

Debono said on Monday, Grech’s statement came as a “beautiful surprise” and thanked the PN leader.

“It is not my style to make hasty declarations and after several days of reflection I feel I should exclude the possibility [of contesting the election with the PN] in the present circumstances. I don’t feel this is the moment to take this step,” Debono wrote.