Updated | Franco Debono 'fed up' with politics

Nationalist MP Franco Debono will not contest 9 March election, says he is fed up with politics.

Dissenting MP Franco Debono
Dissenting MP Franco Debono

Adds Franco Debono's comments at 8:25pm

Franco Debono's name is not among the list of candidates contesting the 9 March election. The dissident Nationalist MP chose against throwing his name in the hat because he "is fed up with politics."

In comments to MaltaToday just after the 8pm deadline for nominations, Debono said that "elections are a farce because the majority of candidates take a false oath on the election expenses."

The General Election Act states that election candidates are to spend no more than €1,400 on their individual campaign a law widely regarded as ridiculous, with two European Parliament election candidates in 2009 going as far as admitting that they took a false oath.

Debono asked "Will the Police and Electoral Commission monitor the candidate's expenditure? I blame the Prime Minister for failing to introduce a party financing law and an electoral law which gives greater powers to the electoral commission to monitor and scrutinise the electoral process."

A tranquil Debono added that he had no regrets over his five-year stint in Parliament and said "I will live in the reforms I have championed," citing the introduction of the right to an advocate for people under arrest as a historic reform introduced on his insistence.

After keeping the press and voters guessing for the last few weeks, Franco Debono gave a clear indication that he would not contest the general election, early on Wednesday afternoon saying that he would "most probably disappoint" the persons who have voiced their support for the MP and urged him to contest.

However, in comments to MaltaToday, Debono said: "On 9 March I will not be abstaining," while insisting that he does not imagine himself contesting elections on the PN ticket "since it has lost any kind of semblance to a political party."

Writing earlier in his personal blog, the dissenting Nationalist MP said he had to make a "tough decision", insisting he had reflected for long and given the question a lot of thought.

He also thanked fifth district voters saying it had been "a privilege and an honour" to represent them in Parliament and wrote that he hoped that the caused he championed, such as Parliamentary, Constitutional and judiciary reform, are "kept alive and are carried out."

In what could be a hint of things to come, the Ghaxaq MP explained that he had realised two of his three dreams, becoming a criminal lawyer and an MP. His third dream was that of practicing law in Italy while keeping his legal office in Malta.

The 9 March election, which also coincides with the MP's birthday, was brought about by his bold decision to vote against the 2013 Budget on 10 December. After being dubbed Maverick of the Year in 2011, Debono took his dissent to another level over the past 12 months.

2012 started in the same fashion as the previous one ended. Threatening to withdraw his support for government if the Justice and Home Affairs Ministry was not divided, calling for Lawrence Gonzi's resignation after being left out of the Cabinet reshuffle and abstaining in a vote of no-confidence in the government forcing Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi to call for a PN leadership contest, in which he was confirmed as PN leader with over 96% of the general council's 899 voters.

All the above happened in the first two months of the 2012, however Gonzi's attempt to quell internal dissent by holding a one-horse race leadership contest failed miserably as Debono, alongside other rebel MPs, was a constant thorn in the Prime Minister's side for the whole year.

Although PN apologists and certain elements in the media tried to rubbish Debono and at times even question his sanity and intentions, the backbencher relentlessly soldiered on - for the most part, alone - bringing government down with his final act of defiance in December.

It is still early to judge Debono's impact on Malta's political structures, however he will certainly be missed if he chooses not to contest the 9 March election. Not only did Debono bring a breath of fresh air to a traditionally sluggish Parliament but he brought to the fore a number of stinging issues which lie at the centre of Malta's institutional shortcomings. His greatest victory would come not at the polling booth but if his reforms and ideas dominate the country's agenda for the years to come.

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Alex Grech
His greatest victory would come not at the polling booth but if his reforms and ideas dominate the country's agenda for the years to come. SPOT ON!
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Maureen Attard
Taf ghalfejn dejqitek il-politika? Ghax ma hallewkx tikkontesta tal-PN. U xejn inqas. Kont taf li jekk tohrog indipendenti jew twaqqaf xi partit ma kont ser taghmel xejn.
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he knew he couldn't win, so he made the right choice and decided not to run. Maybe he can run for the EU elections...that he may end up winning and reinvest himself.
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@man in the street......you are wrong man. for the pn franco debono is irrelevant and that chapter was closed when he voted against the budget. we can only wish him 'buon lavoro'
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The dissident Nationalist MP chose against throwing his name in the hat because he "is fed up with politics.".......AND WE ARE FED UP OF YOU MR DEBONO. PLEASE FOLLOW UP YOUR THIRD DREAM AND GO TO ITALY TO WORK THERE.
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Very wise decision. Will now have a bigger impact if not contesting, for various reasons.
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Bad news dr Debono will be leaving our island. I still believe he will return to local politics. Next time for the post of pn leader.
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I am sure Dr. Debono took this decision after a lot of deliberation, but that he should go to work in another country is certainly our loss and the other country's gain. A real waste of down to earth, honest talent. Keep making yourself relevant Dr. Debono please, the honest man in the street needs you, here.
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I sincerely hope that he does not waste his vote, The only vote which makes sense in order to inflict the biggest defeat in GonziPN's history, is by voting PL !
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Having worked and lived in Italy for five years and having been responsible for an operation in Italy for another four years I am sure our friend Franco will definitely find the legal system (at least the commercial one) there more bureaucratic, cumbersome, slower and more inefficient than the Malta one!
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Until now the PN have refrained from mentioning Franco Debono's name, in case he decided to contest and thus upset the balance in the 5th District. They did not even blame him for the PN Government's fall last December. I bet that from tomorrow onwards the PN will be opening broadsides against him.

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