[WATCH] Prime Minister to contest fifth electoral district, leaders will go head-to-head

Party leaders Robert Abela and Bernard Grech to face off in fifth electoral district in 2022 General Election 

Prime Minister Robert Abela
Prime Minister Robert Abela

Prime Minister Robert Abela has announced he will be contesting the fifth electoral district in the upcoming general election this year. 

The area includes Birżebbuġa, Kirkop, Mqabba, Ħal Farruġ, Qrendi, Safi, and Żurrieq. 

“I will not only promise to continue working for this district, but I will call on your vote in this upcoming election,” Abela told party supporters. 

The announcement was made on Sunday morning at a political event in Mqabba. 

The PM’s announcement means the Labour and Nationalist leaders will go head-to-head in the election. Grech confirmed he would be contesting the electoral district last year. 

The PM also teased on a possible election date, saying it will be carried out “in the next four months.”

“It is an election that will start nil-nil,” he warned supporters. “We want to continue working towards winning the people’s trust.” 

Abela spoke on government’s work during the pandemic, reiterating previous statements that it was the administration’s strategic plan which protected people. 

“We had challenges in the last two years, but we never lost faith. We will never leave you alone,” he said. “Because we worked diligently, in the biggest challenge since the second world war, we sustained our help, and moreover invested more than €70 million directly into people pockets.”

He said it will be a “very successful spring”, and government will look to further stimulate the country’s economy through measures like the tax rebate announced last Friday. 

“Look at what is happening around us. Energy prices have soared by 29% in Europe and 50% in the UK, but because we took a strategic decision, we could keep energy, gas and fuel prices the same,” he said. Abela thanked Energy Minister Miriam Dalli for her contribution. 

“On the other hand, we have former minister Tonio Fenech, who had told us an increase in energy prices was inevitable in the 2008 economic crisis,” he said. 

He also called out the Opposition for its “inconsistencies” when criticising government. “First, they told us tax-rebate cheques were scraps, and then they told us we are needlessly spending the country’s finances. They have to choose.” 

“We believe investment is crucial, but they believe investment is wasteful spending. They don’t understand our style of politics.” 

He praised government reforms, making reference to government’s intention in introducing femicide as part of the country’s criminal code. “We carried out this reform, because society cannot stand by and watch people suffer. 

We put forward these amendments because we felt the need to send a strong message against femicide.”

“This is a government which does not close its eyes to people’s realities,” he told those present. 

'Abela abandons the sixth district to start petty rivalry with Joseph Muscat' - PN

In a statement PN said Abela abandoned the sixth district to start a petty rivalry with Joseph Muscat, and get more votes than him on the same districts.

“By doing so, Abela also weakens a number of other candidates he wants to get rid of, confirming the infighting that exists within Labour,” PN said.

It said Abela did not apologise for hiding the “scandalous” €17,000 a month contract his firm had with the PA, and said he minimised the problems being faced by ordinary people.  

“Once again he stubbornly refused to refund what his government stole from people in institutionalised theft of electricity bills,” PN said. “Instead he claimed the €100 cheques being handed out to people just before the elections are enough to deal with the skyrocketing cost-of-living.”