Robert Abela toys with Opposition as he skirts round questions on election

'There are a number of months left in this legislature, and my focus today is to implement this budget,' Abela said after the Budget speech

Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday
Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday

Prime Minister Robert Abela was reluctant to confirm whether he will hold an early election in November, instead stating that he wants to implement his government's budget proposals.

“I don’t agree that everyone is thinking about the election, we will carry out the budget as promised,” he said when prompted on a possible election this year.

Three journalists asked Abela about a possible early election on Monday during a post-budget press conference outside Castille. In all three instances, Abela failed to give a yes-or-no answer.

He also evaded questions on whether the budget will be approved during this legislature, which could open the door to a hypothetical election in November this year. 

"The only concerns about an election are coming from the Opposition," Abela quipped. He said that his government is focused on coming out of the pandemic while protecting health and increasing employment.

"There are a number of months left in this legislative term, and my focus today is to implement this budget," he stated.

The election rumour mill went into overdrive last weekend after news came through that Pope Francis postponed his Malta visit to next year. Among the reasons for this postponement was the persistent rumours of a November vote.

In theory, the Prime Minister can call a general election whenever he deems fit - but there is a minimum of 33 days between parliament's dissolution and voting day that must be respected. 

Several sources within the Labour Party had told MaltaToday that opinion is split within the party as to whether Abela should call an election now or wait until March next year.