PM shouldn’t tease public on election date – Bernard Grech

Grech says the PM looks like he's having some fun by not giving a straight answer on the election date

Photo: Partit Nazzjonalista
Photo: Partit Nazzjonalista

Opposition leader Bernard Grech slammed the Prime Minister on Sunday for failing to clarify when the next election could take place.

“Whether the election happens this year is the Prime Minister’s discretion, but he shouldn’t tease the public, almost like he’s having fun by not giving people an answer,” Grech said during a political activity on Sunday.

With rumours spreading of a November vote, Grech warned that businesses need to plan, order stock, and prepare for the Christmas period, not worry about an election.

“Businesses have suffered enough, don’t increase their suffering with your cheek,” he continued.

Despite the rumour mill going into overdrive, Prime Minister Robert Abela has so far failed to set a general election date, but has consistently refused to confirm whether the election will happen this November.

During his speech in parliament last week, Abela hinted that approval of the planned budget for 2022 will follow a popular vote. “It’s the people who will decide if this budget gets implemented,” he said.

Giving a brief reaction to Abela’s parliamentary speech, Grech remarked that the PM was acting like a young boy who was trying to impress a girl by talking down on other boys, implying that the PM was doing the same by criticising the Nationalist Party.

“The Prime Minister is realising that our party is appealing to more and more Maltese and Gozitans,” Grech stated.

He added that the Labour Party uploaded a post during Grech’s budget reaction speech calling the Nationalist Party “an opposition from yesterday”, implying that the party is backwards.

“I take that as a compliment,” Grech quipped. “Yesterday we were the opposition, tomorrow we will be the government.”

Grech went on to criticise government overspending throughout the past year. He clarified that government was right to spend money on pandemic mitigation measures, but said that there was an extra €1.3 billion that was spent carelessly.

“He’s wasting money by giving it to his friends,” he said, while mentioning the Electrogas and Stewards deals that remain in force.

“These contracts need to be terminated. It’s unacceptable how certain people can just steal thousands from the public to enrich themselves and become millionaires.”

‘How can you blame youths for wanting to leave Malta?’

Earlier during his Sunday speech, Grech recalled a conversation he had with a 21-year-old girl who had just finished reading for a course at university.

He said that this girl was determined to continue studying for a Master’s degree, but she admitted to having doubts.

According to Grech, the girl complained about having studied hard throughout her degree, only to see her friend being awarded a well-paying government job as a person of trust.

He tied this with a recent survey that found how 60% of youths said they would rather live in another European country outside Malta, and only 27% said they would remain on the islands.

“How can you blame youths for feeling this way when they see their university colleagues given a contract because their father is friends with the minister?” Grech said.

He described the survey result as a “tragedy of our time” and a stain on the Labour Party’s reputation.

“This is also a result that motivates me further,” he added.

The survey also found that nine out of every ten youths felt that the environment is getting worse, with this number increasing by 5% in a single year.

On this, Grech said that work needs to be carried out to better the natural environment, as well as people’s work and leisure environments.