[LIVE] Folllow our live-blog of the PN's mass meeting in Gozo

Follow us here for the PN's mass meeting in Gozo.

Follow us here for our live-blog from Gozo where the Nationalist Party is holding a mass meeting. Click here to REFRESH

20:17 Gonzi concludes his address, and everyone stands on stage to clap, smile, and mouth the words to the Nationalist Party election anthem.

20:14 Gonzi reiterates his Sunday message to party faithful to keep looking for more and more undecided voters or first time voters to convert to the Nationalist fold.

"Be our candidates. Be our ambassadors. be the ones to communicate this message," the Nationalist leader said, insisting that since the first time he delivered this message during Sunday's mass meeting in Sliema, the feedback we got was amazing."

"But we have yet ways to go. There are four days to go. Keep finding two more people," Gonzi urges. "And on 9 March we'll vote, and on 10 March, we'll celebrate," Gonzi concludes.

20:12 "Ask yourselves well whether you should change direction, whether you should go for a direction that you still don't know where it will take you," Gonzi says.

"It is up to you," Gonzi says. "From the moment that the polls open on Saturday, the country will be in your hands. For those few seconds, you will be the country's Prime Minister, deciding the course of the country. I have faith that you will make the right choice."

20:11 Gonzi yet again cautions disgruntled and dissatisfied voters against not voting against the Nationalist Party.

"You might have asked for a transfer and didn't get it. You might have asked for a permit, but you didn't get it. But that is no reason to vote badly," Gonzi said, insisting that one should vote for one's children, one's family, and one's future.

"Keep that in mind, because that one moment of sadness can lead to yet more sadness," Gonzi said.

20:10 The Nationalist leader said that come what may, after the elections, the life will go on as normal, and businesses would still need to turn a profit. "We are promising to reduce taxes, to leave more money in your pocket and in your businesses' pocket. This happens because you have a government which has strong finances," Gonzi said.

"But if you have a government that drives the country's finances into the wall, it will raise taxes," Gonzi says, insisting that Labour's 1996/1998 administration "introduced 33 taxes" because it did precisely that.

Gonzi also appealed to self-employed and business owners, insisting that the PN administration "never put a chain around your neck" but rather "threw open the doors to your success."

20:05 Gonzi appeals to first time voters to keep in mind that the PN wants only "the best for you" in employment, education, and health. "Some of you advance to a certain point in your studies. Others go farther. But we tell you all, we will create work for you, and we will help you get where you want to get."

"Blokka bajda, blokkaa bajda hej," the crowd chants, somewhat momentarily out of synch with the direction Gonzi's speech is heading in.

20:04 Gonzi however admits that the PN administration did have its shortcomings and says that in the coming five years, it will do better.

"We can still do more. We can treat people with humanity, dignity and with greater respect. We will treat people not as a file, or a number, but as a person. Every so often, one can help a person, and one cannot. But we need to bring about this change in our culture," he says.

"In the coming legislature, we will make an effort so that everyone - Ministers, Department heads, heads of authorities - they will all have to understand that the citizen comes first. They must receive explanations, and they must receive the service due to them."

"We are there to be of service to the people, and not the other way around," Gonzi says.

20:01 Gonzi also presses home the Nationalist government's investment in health and health care and education, ranging from better and more specialised health services like cancer treatment.

19:56 Gonzi urges voters to think long and hard regarding their choice when they go to the polls on 9 March.

"On 9 March, you will be faced with the ballot sheet. On one side, it will be coloured red," cue booing and jeering from the audience

"On the other, it will be coloured blue. I trust you can recognise which is the true Blue, and which is not," Gonzi says, as the crowds erupts into chants of "Nazzjonalisti, Nazzjonalist."

"We've had nine weeks of campaigning. These nine weeks, and the past five years, all the work you've done and the successes you've enjoyed, boils down to five seconds on 9 March. In five seconds you will decide the country with the pen in your hand . Five seconds, Five years. Five seconds that can keep on the right track, or five seconds that can throw is into a direction that nobody knows what it means. Five seconds to remember that red means unemployment, and blue means work."

"If the result is a bad one we will not be able to correct that mistake for five years, and a lot can happen in that time," Gonzi warns.

"Let us work together to ensure that those five seconds will become the best five years we've had so far under a Nationalist government," Gonzi affirms.

19:53 Gonzi also speaks about the permanent link between Malta and Gozo, reiterating the PN's pledge to see through the project if studies confirm its feasibility.

"So far the studies are encouraging. We promise, after the 9 March, we will continue them, and if they give us the result we are expecting, we will carry out this project and we will give Gozo the biggest step towards creating more work in Gozo, for Gozitans," he says.

19:52 "Only days ago we obtained 1.2 billion from the EU. And I repeat, it is a solemn promise that the PN is making. 10% of the social cohesion funds will be dedicated towards projects that will take place Gozo to create more work in Gozo, for Gozitans," Gonzi says.

The Nationalist leader goes on to say that Gozo's share from Malta's total EU rural funds will increase to 22%.

19:48 Gonzi also reiterates the PN's proposals aimed at encouraging new businesses in Gozo, such as tax credits and tax breaks for businesses opened in Gozo. He adds that the PN is also proposing further incentives to those businesses that employ more people, "so as to create more jobs in Gozo, for Gozitans."

"We need to keep working to provide Gozo with the tools it needs to keep improving," Gonzi says, adding that "10% of every cent that Malta obtains from EU funding will be dedicated to the Gozitan island."

19:44 Stressing that the PN believes in the future of Gozo, Gonzi also reiterates a number of specific proposals aimed at allowing Gozo and its people to tap into its true potential and prosper in the future.

"In this way you will know that my speech was not pie in the sky, or simply an election speech intended for 9 March," Gonzi said.

He said that Gozo is particularly dependent on tourism, both foreign and domestic. "We are saying that over the coming five years, the first step we will take we will publish a plan to ensure the touristic development inside Gozo."

"We want more five star hotels in Gozo. We want more quality beds in Gozo. We want three and four star hotels to benefit from schemes to make a leap in quality. We want farmhouses who are a part of the tourism services chain receive financing to also achieve a leap in quality," Gonzi said.

He added that a new PN administration would bring about changes in MEPA to ensure that that these projects and initiatives are of benefit to Gozo and its tourism industry.

"Tourism grew and developed under a Nationalist Government, and will grow and develop further under a new Nationalist government," Gonzi stresses.

19:40 Gonzi touches upon stipends and student initiatives that were undertaken by the PN administration, such as a new school, and opportunities to study further. "We gave you all this, because when we come here, we don't come with roadmaps, but with projects in hand."

"Thank you Thank you, very much," the crowd responds.

19:37 The Prime Minister goes on to say that words are easy, and insists that the difference between Labour and the PN is that the Labour comes to Gozo "empty handed" and unable "to mention a single project."

"We don't come empty handed, but we come with projects that are intended to create work and improve your quality of life. It is useless to hold mass meetings without also putting in the effort and creating good quality jobs forf Gozitans in Gozo," Gonzi adds.

Here, the Nationalist Leader rattles off a list of ongoing works and reforms in Gozo, ranging from restoration of cultural sites, to road works, health services, and investments done towards cleaner seas.

19:36 Gonzi also notes that there are many who are still weighing their options and not sure who to vote for. He points out that there are many who cannot vote, such as young children too young to have a say in the country's leadership.

"You must vote for them because your vote will give them work, health, and education," Gonzi says impassionedly.

"There are only a few days. Let us all go for it together," Gonzi adds, becoming increasingly hoarse as the speech wears on.

19:32 Gonzi delivers a list of special mentions of former Nationalist politicians who he said were integral in the prosperity of Malta's sister island.

"I salute Anton Tabone who worked as a minister for Gozo during difficult times and bore the fruit of the decision of a Nationalist government that Gozo should have a minister of its own," Gonzi said, adding that Labour broke this pledge "because for them, Gozo is of secondary importance."

"I must also mention George Borg Olivier, who loved Gozo so," Gonzi added, before also going on to mention former PN leader Eddie Fenech Adami.

"Eddie deserves this salute, he who gave us EU citizenship, democracy, and the right to meet and celebrate the Independence of our country. We salute him tonight," Gonzi said.

19:29 Gonzi also kicks off his address by thanking the Gozitan people for the warm welcome they gave the Nationalist Party and its supporters this evening.

He says that the eve of the election calls for a "special effort" especially with regards to those who are still weighing their options.

"I wish to remind Gozitans that the Island of Gozo was at the heart of the Nationalist government's efforts, and that is why the Nationalist Party is at the heart of the Gozitan people," Gonzi says, as the crowd chants away "Ghax ghandna lil Gonzi maghna, ahna maghqudin".

19:27 Gonzi takes the podium as the Maltese national anthem plays out solemnly.

19:25 Busuttil urges the party faithful to go out and vote for those who brought about employment, for those who invested in education, and in healthcare. "Next Saturday, vote for the Nationalist Party to bring about a leap forward in the future of the country for you and your children," Busuttil says as he concludes his speech.

19:24 "How can we trust a party that always gave us bad advice, and is built on bluff, gimmicks, and when you boil everything down, there is nothing left," Busuttil says.

19:20 Busuttil says that had the PN government heeded Muscat's "mistaken decisions", the country would be far worse off than it is today.

"10 years ago Muscat had told us to vote against EU membership. If we listened to him, instead of a future in Europe, we would have remained orphans in Europe, and the future of our children would have hit a wall at full speed," Busutill said, reiterated an oft-repeated campaign soundbite.

Busuttil also said that Muscat's "advice" to not introduce the Euro, Malta would have followed Ireland in its economic collapse, and accused Muscat of wanting to undermine Malta's financial situation through his advice to not close down the Dry Docks.

Busuttil also pointing to the Cypriot financial crisis, insisting again that had Malta heeded Muscat's advice, "our country would have suffered the same, and would have also hit a wall at full speed."

19:17 Busuttil also slammed Labour's campaign message that is proposing a change of direction for the country, insisting that Labour has not said anything about what this change would mean. He said that despite the billboards, the streamers, and the campaign spending "remains a party that yields no substance when one boils down what it is saying."

"Shame on Labour," the crowd chanted.

He said that despite the monies that Labour spent, "Joseph Muscat did not have the political honesty or courage to send a copy of the Labour electoral programme to your homes. It is an insult to your intelligence."

19:12 Busuttil also expressed gratitude for the fact that thousands of Gozitans had voted for him to represent them in the European Parliament. He said that today, as PN deputy leader, he is asking them for their trust to represent them, this time as the deputy prime minister within a Nationalist Party.

"My commitment is a personal one to you as Gozitans," Busuttil said, as the crowd chanted appreciatively. "My commitment is a personal one to you all, to you Gozitans who are present, and those who are following us from home."

"To those Gozitans who feel injured, or are still sceptical whether they should vote in the coming election," Busuttil said, adding that he met a number of such people in recent days, pointing out that many of them had issues with MEPA or with finding employment in Gozo.

"My personal commitment is that a new PN government is closer to you than ever before," Busuttil said. "We will not solve everything by next Saturday. But I am making a personal commitment that like I was there for you in Europe, I will be there for you after the election."

He urged Gozitans to go out and vote for the Nationalist Party, "with conviction. Be proud that on Saturday you will vote for the Nationalist Party. Because with a PN government, Gozitan advanced, and will keep advancing."

19:10 Busuttil kicks off by thanking the Gozitan people for welcoming the PN and its supporters among them this evening. "There was someone who was called Eddie Fenech Adami," he said as the crowd wend wild. "Fenech Adami once said that Gozo is the showcase of Malta. And he was right, because it found the Nationalist Party always foursquare behind it," adding that all major Gozitan projects were carried out by Nationalist Governments.

He added, therefore, that it is no surprise that all Gozitans are firmly behind the Nationalist Party.

19:07 Busuttil kicks off the political portion of the mass meeting with the first address of the evening. 

19:03 A smiling deputy PN leader Simon Busuttil strides on stage, clapping and waving, followed shortly after by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and Kate Gonzi.

18:46 The party tunes are being interspersed with a couple of what seems to be live performances by talented local singers who step on stage to their sing their heart to some PN election songs.

18:39 And with Van Halen's 'Jump', we're right back to the 80s.

18:36 After a techno/electro remix of Nirvana's 'Smells like Teen Spirit', the Beastie Boy's election adrenaline tune 'Fight for Your Right' comes on. Definitely an improvement.

18:21 After the predictable Eiffel 65 'I'm Blue', we're back to a remix of 'The Final Countdown'. Someone should tip off the the DJ that a bit of variety might not go amiss.

18:18 The presenters who are busy working the crowd up on stage announce that Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi's appearance is now just minutes away. 

18:16 The music is a-thumping and the crowd is a-celebrating as the Nationalist Party Mass Meeting in Rabat, Gozo, is well underway - just four days away from the 9 March General election.

A number of election classics are a pumping the crowd, among them the Nationalist Party election anthem, Europe's 'The Final Countdown' and the EU membership campaign tune 'Nighdu Iva', along with mandatory pauses when the chorus kicks in to allow the crowd to chime in.

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Kos, minn fejn gabuha tal-Pn li huma 'blu' (biex jinfirdu mill-ohrajn 'homor'{i.e. komunisti})? Sa fejn naf jien, il-bandiera taghhom l-aktar li jidher huwa l-iswed, vestigju tal-passat faxxist taghhom. Minn fejn gie l-blu, hux, kos?
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