Robert Abela tenure characterised by 'indecisions and instability', PN says

Nationalist Party candidate Ivan J. Bartolo says Malta is paying the price for Robert Abela’s actions

Nationalist candidate and former MP Ivan J. Bartolo said two years of Prime Minister Robert Abela were characterised by indecisions and instability.

In a press conference on Wednesday addressing Abela’s two-year reign, Bartolo said the PM got into the role with his hands tied.

“A Prime Minister should promote dialogue in a democratic country but Robert Abela is killing dialogue and democracy, when refusing to participate in debates and only conceding interviews on party channels,” Bartolo stated.

Bartolo also alleged the PM is choosing his members in Parliament, in a clear reference to the recent co-option of Andy Ellul, making it the fifth one during Abela’s tenure.

“You have to build on consent, as decisions and non-decisions have consequences… it is evident that for Abela it is more important for him to lead the Labour Party and not the country.”

Bartolo said Malta is paying the price for Robert Abela’s actions, mentioning the grey listing by FATF, blacklisting by Russia, youths that want to leave the country for good, and an abysmal performance for Malta in an expat survey.

The former PN MP also spoke on debt, which he said is growing at alarming rate not just because of the pandemic but also because of reckless spending and “corruption financing”.

“Malta needs to retrieve its moral backbone once again and it needs to kill the culture of impunity, which tarnished our reputation,” Bartolo said.

PN candidate Alex Perici Calascione acknowledged the challenges related to the pandemic, but lambasted Abela’s track record. He critiqued Abela’s decisions in relation to public broadcasting and also on education and tourism. Perici Calascione also called on the labour government to address the rising cost-of-living.

“The Government has failed us. The grey listing effect are being felt by those living in and investing in Malta. PN has to salvage this and is assuming its responsibility to lead the country forward,” Perici Calascione concluded.

PN candidate Janice Chetcuti said the country needs to be effective and proactive and referred to the PN’s anti-corruption package of 12 legislative Bills.

“We want our country to regain the reputation and the serenity that had always ruled,” Chetcuti said.

She reiterated the PN’s proposal for self-testing kits to be made available and to reduce the number of days of quarantine obligation.

MaltaToday questioned the PN’s critique on the duration of police and FIAU investigations into major crimes. Perici Calascione acknowledged these cases are delicate and said the Opposition insists investigations should not stall. “If the commissioner fails to act, the rule of law is weakened. This should not be just the PN’s critique but everyone’s duty.”