Jason Azzopardi bows out of PN: ‘You will start to understand why I was an uncomfortable presence for many’

PN stalwarts Jason Azzopardi, Edwin Vassallo and Karl Gouder all fail to make it to parliament after contesting Tuesday's casual elections • Azzopardi quits PN

Jason Azzopardi failed to make it to Parliament after Tuesday's casual elections
Jason Azzopardi failed to make it to Parliament after Tuesday's casual elections

Nationalist candidate Jason Azzopardi failed to make it to Parliament during Tuesday's casual elections.

Azzopardi was contesting the two ninth district seats vacated by Joe Giglio and Robert Arrigo.

In a Facebook post after the vote was confirmed, Azzopardi vowed to continue working for “truth and justice”, and said people would eventually understand why he was attacked and why he was an uncomfortable presence.

“I am confident that when during the upcoming months, the conclusions of various Magisterial inquiries into public individuals in different parties, are published, you will start to understand why I was uncomfortable for many and why there were continuous attacks against me from the Labour Party and elsewhere,” Azzopardi wrote.

Azzopardi said 24 years of work as a PN MP and 34 years of activism within the party came to end on Tuesday, effectively ending his association with the PN.

“I will start focusing more on my professional life after having sacrificed it for the last years. I will remain at the disposition of all those that genuinely require my help even if I will not remain active as I was in public life," Azzopardi wrote on Facebook.

Azzopardi had been first elected to Parliament in 1998 and got re-elected in the subsequent general elections of 2003, 2008, 2013 and 2017. He served as Minister for Fair Competition and Small Business and Consumers, and as Parliamentary Secretary for Revenues and Land in the Ministry of Finance, Economy and Investment.

Azzopardi acknowledged mistakes were made but said he had a clear conscience. “I assure the criminals and the corrupt that I will make sure that Justice is delivered and that the truth comes out, irrespective of who they are.”

Azzopardi is the legal representative of the Caruana Galizia family, and appeared parte civile in the public inquiry and the criminal proceedings against those accused with masterminding and carrying out the murder.

He was one of the most vociferous critics of the Labour Party ever since it was elected in power, often relying on parliamentary privilege to bring forward allegations against some of the most prominent PL figures.

Azzopardi, along with newly elected PN MPs Karol Aquilina and Carm Mifsud Bonnici, was not present in the counting hall on Tuesday, as the casual elections were underway.

One of the most conservative voices within the previous PN parliamentary group, Edwin Vassallo, also failed to make it to Parliament. Vassallo was first elected to Parliament in 1996 and was re-elected in the elections of 1998, 2003, 2008, 2013 and 2017.

He served as Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry for Finance and Economic Services and for Small Businesses and the Self Employed.

In the last legislature and in the run-up to the 2022 election, Vassallo dedicated most of his energy to the farming sector and pledged his commitment to hunting and trapping rights.

Vassallo was the sole MP in the House to vote against the marriage amendment bill in 2017, that saw the introduction of gay marriage in Malta, saying the rules were intended at changing the nature of marriage.

In a cryptic Facebook post on Monday, Vassallo stressed on the importance of the Christian ethos in politics, which he said was the "hope in favour of life and against the culture of death".

Incumbent Karl Gouder also failed to get elected during Tuesday’s casual elections. Gouder was first elected to Parliament in 2008, and he was co-opted in 2016 after failing to get re-elected in 2013. He was elected once again in the 2017 election.