De Marco’s post-mortem spells out aspirant’s vision for the PN

Mario de Marco: the Nationalist Party’s efforts over the past few months were an example of how “not to run a campaign”.

Mario de Marco - widely believed to be an aspirant for the PN leadership.
Mario de Marco - widely believed to be an aspirant for the PN leadership.

Nationalist MP Mario de Marco has delivered a post-mortem of the Nationalist Party election campaign that laid out a leadership-aspirant's vision for the party.

In an article published in the Times yesterday, de Marco did not mince words, holding up the electoral campaign that saw the PN losing to Labour by a landslide of 36,000 votes on Sunday as an example of "how not to run a campaign".

Among his observations and insights into how the party's shortcomings came together to deliver a defeat of historic proportions, de Marco's chief diagnosis was that the PN's campaign lacked vision for the future.

He said that while Labour extolled its own hopes and aspirations, the Nationalist Party failed to do likewise. "What vision did we offer in return?"

In this, de Marco touched upon a sore spot for the Nationalist Party by insisting that the party was mistaken in assuming that its past achievements were all that was required to assure victory.

De Marco similarly recognised and disavowed politics by character assassinations and personal attacks, personified by Nationalist pundit Daphne Caruana Galizia.

"The electorate does not relish negative campaigning directed at the person rather than the message. Society expects higher standards from politicians, not only in the way we do politics but also in the way we talk politics," he argued.

De Marco's sobering commentary comes when the Nationalist Party is reeling from a staggering defeat and is in the midst of the painful transition from government to the opposition benches.

But the wheels are already turning in anticipation for the impending leadership contest that must take place within three months' time.

Nationalist leader Lawrence Gonzi's announcement that he will not seek reconfirmation opened up a gulf that several PN exponents seem to be only too keen to fill, and de Marco's analysis suggests that he has his eyes firmly set on the prize.

"At the same time as carrying out our duties in Opposition, we must rebuild our party, rebuild its structures, rebuild its credibility and rebuild its bridges," he said.

"A defeat of this magnitude cannot be the result of one factor," de Marco said. "It is the sum total of many things gone wrong ... it is also perhaps the result of our party ignoring the signs on the wall for too long."

Specifically, de Marco pointed to the PN's failure to gain the trust of younger generations, its tarnished and outdated 'image', and its loss of support of sections of the business community and middle-income earners.

De Marco also acknowledged the PN's stilted and often hostile stance towards "independent media" in the run-up of the campaign, and said that because its own party media "spoke almost exclusively to the party faithful", the PN's voice was lost on "traditional media" and "often drowned out in the social media and internet sites".

In an allusion to the PN's anti-divorce campaign, and Gonzi's own decision to vote against the divorce bill in parliament, de Marco said the PN also "failed to adapt to the changing nature of Maltese society as we struggled to bring together the liberal and conservative elements of the party".

"Our attempt at reaching out to the gay community was evidently not convincing enough," he said, noting the party's lukewarm stance towards LGBT issues like same-sex partnerships.

Looking forward, de Marco said that a new PN administration needs to dissect and abandon an "election campaign strategy which failed to capture the imagination of the electorate," insisting that the issue went beyond resources.

"We then need to develop and communicate a vision, a vision based on legitimate people's expectations," de Marco said.

"This is how we can address the gap between the parties. It is not an easy task but one which we can and will carry out," he said. "We need to move these five years forward together."

PN leadership debate begins on Facebook

By Monday, the social media networks were murmuring about possible candidates for the PN leadership.

Several names started doing the rounds on Facebook, as PN faithful start looking towards a unifying figure to lead the party towards renewal: the oft-mentioned names were, unsurprisingly, Mario de Marco and Chris Said, and deputy leader Simon Busuttil.

At the same time, other names are also cropping up, among them those of Nationalist MP Beppe Fenech Adami, son of iconic former PN leader Eddie Fenech Adami, and lawyer Ann Fenech, who was part of the PN electoral commission for the election of deputy leader.

By Monday afternoon, a Facebook page titled 'Nazzjonalisti Biss' had already posed the fateful question: 'Who would you like to see as the new Nationalist Party leader?'

Leading the 'chart' after four hours of 'voting' at 7.30pm yesterday was Mario de Marco with over 1,320 votes, followed by Beppe Fenech Adami (653), Simon Busuttil (373), 'other candidates' (227), and Chris Said (117).

In comments to the media, de Marco and Fenech Adami were both circumspect about their intentions, neither discounting nor confirming their intentions to throw their hat in the ring.

More in Elections 2013
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Dr Demarco is right; GonziPN was-still is-associated with negativity and character assassination. The trouble is that this was coming straight from Castille because the people there saw the State and the Government as their own personal fiefdom. But the cherry on the cake was the fact that many people resented the cardinal's role of being the factotum- the real Prime Minister- instead of the other stage managed leader. Debono said it, Mugliet repeated it and JPO implemented the revolt! Of course one cannot leave out the Bidnija blogger's revolting hatred towards humanity by and large; and you know what, she had the 'rih fil- qala' from Jules Mazarin himself!
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Dr.Demarco,you where part of the government.Is it possible that you also didn't see the writing on the wall? Or was all this part of some nationalist agenda to get rid of those who wanted to stay living in the ivory tower.Right from the start of the last nationalist term there was trouble on the horizon. The government continued to sink deep in the shit that you all were producing. You WAS ONE OF THEM . so didn't you have a say to change the route,or did you leave Franco Debono to do the dirty work? Every one of you should carry the blame but some have more weight to carry. subkult/revolt
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These statements from past and present PN MPs or ministers, as in this case, leave me baffled. We are either to believe that all of these people spoke up within the party and were totally ignored - making us really wonder about how decisions were taken in the party and by whom - or else that some of them are speaking up only now "a cose fatte". I have to say that I find neither option palatable.
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It will be difficult reconstructing an all new building with the same old bricks.
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Emmanuel Mallia
Those two, behind the scenes, who are really the culprit of the disaster should go. They are silently, observing !!! Simon ,Mario, Chris and Beppe are too conservative. Simon keeps on the old rhetoric diplomacy and tricks. Simon was introduced as a last minute resort, together with Fenech Adami and did not give the desired results. The party needs a young , energetic, progressive leader, with new, fresh ideas and an outlook to compete with a totally new way of doing politics. ! All the issues raised by Franco are surfacing up !!
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De marco - the party will be much better with you and your family gone! Same goes for Gatt and his scumbags and Beppe and others. Then again - stay on please so PL can enjoy 25 years in power!!
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I hope that the above prospective candidates do not forget that they were, and are prominant partners of the debacle that has ensued. I am surprised that with the reputations of their fathers (which I believe they have let down),they should have stood on their own two feet, well before the election and not allow the 43% of the electorate to be led up the garden path.One name in particular comes to mind, who put his career and life on the line only to end up being ostracised from the party assumingly with their support.I am sure that both confirmed Lawrence Gonzi as Prime Minister in the recent one horse race of the famous leadership election at the PN!!! Or are they too, saying that maybe they were not aware !!!
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Paul Sammut
Now they tell us? Mario de Marco, Beppe Fenech Adami, Simon Busuttil, Chris Said, et al where all staunch supporters of GonziPN, having it so good while we were barely managing to get by. No medicine, dreading turning on the A/C or gas heaters on shivering cold winter nights, Arriva nightmares going to work every morning...kickbacks going on. Now they'r sorry? Because they lost power? They all voted gladly for the rise in the price of electricity. None of them objected. They are not idiots. They knew very well what was going on and they approved of it. Now they tell us? Too late the hero.
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Paul Sammut
Now they tell us? Mario de Marco, Beppe Fenech Adami, Simon Busuttil, Chris Said, et al where all staunch supporters of GonziPN, having it so good while we were barely managing to get by. No medicine, dreading turning on the A/C or gas heaters on shivering cold winter nights, Arriva nightmares going to work every morning...kickbacks going on. Now they'r sorry? Because they lost power? They all voted gladly for the rise in the price of electricity. None of them objected. They are not idiots. They knew very well what was going on and they approved of it. Now they tell us? Too late the hero.
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Irrespective of who is elected as leader, it must be someone capable of winning the liberal vote back. All Curia leccaculi must be got rid off. No Opus Dei members please, and neither any freemasons. Mario de Marco looks capable of these tasks. Anyone tainted with the humiliation suffered at the polls must retire from the scene, even to the extent of resigning his seat in Parliament.
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Failures are part of life. If you don't fail, you don't learn. If you don't learn you'll never change.
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PN repeated the mistakes that old MLP made, they did not learn from the mistakes of others. They were not professional. They were lost, no vision Tey believed they were invincible They were arrogant They ended up correcting mistakes they themselves made and boasted about it. They had all the government resourses at their disposal they were divided they were bogged down by corruption and permitted it to thrive. They lied blatently They disrespected the electorate by treating them as morons. do you want more ?
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PN repeated the mistakes that old MLP made, they did not learn from the mistakes of others. They were not professional. They were lost, no vision Tey believed they were invincible They were arrogant They ended up correcting mistakes they themselves made and boasted about it. They had all the government resourses at their disposal they were divided they were bogged down by corruption and permitted it to thrive. They lied blatently They disrespected the electorate by treating them as morons. do you want more ?
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PN repeated the mistakes that old MLP made, they did not learn from the mistakes of others. They were not professional. They were lost, no vision Tey believed they were invincible They were arrogant They ended up correcting mistakes they themselves made and boasted about it. They had all the government resourses at their disposal they were divided they were bogged down by corruption and permitted it to thrive. They lied blatently They disrespected the electorate by treating them as morons. do you want more ?
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I would start off by changing the name of the party. It is not trendy to be a nationalist nowadays. The definition of a nationalist? "a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups". Will it make sense in 2018?