Sandra Gauci to be ADPD leader, third woman in Maltese history to take party helm

ADPD leader Carmel Cacopardo announces he will not recontest chairmanship to pave way for election of Sandra Gauci as leader

Sandra Gauci
Sandra Gauci

Malta’s Green Party ADPD will tomorrow elect European Parliament candidate and deputy chairperson Sandra Gauci to its leadership, the small party’s first woman leader since 1989.

Gauci will become the third woman in Malta’s political history to lead a party after Mabel Strickland, leader of the Progressive Constitutionalist Party, and Marlene Farrugia, leader of the Partit Demokratiku.

Carmel Cacopardo took over the reins of the party in 2017, after Arnold Cassola, who had been leader since 2013. Cacopardi said the decision had been taken for the party leadership to be passed on to someone who can take the party to the next general election.

“In a small party the necessary change must take place gradually, at our pace, and at the right time... still more has yet to be done,” Cacopardo said.

The party chairperson will stay on as deputy chairperson in a joint role held with Mina Tolu.

Cacopardo said that ADPD’s results in recent elections were the fruit of a small group of people working in an environment carved up for the duopoly. “It is an environment that sees us as surplus to needs and is always hindering us.”

ADPD is still pursuing a constitutional case that challenges Malta’s electoral system.

In the last general election, ADPD, having taken over the remnants of Farrugia’s PD, secured 4,746 votes, doubling its previous count.

In a blogpost, Sandra Gauci said she would stand as the voice of people who feel neglected and lacking the power to be heard.

“We will work closely with the people, with humility, in the hope for a better future, for the common good that seems to have been taken over by a wave of individualism and unbridled selfishness of those who have the power and money to pass on the burden to those with no financial strength or networks. We will be the party that listens to everyone, not just businessmen...”

Gauci said Malta’s economic way forward had to reduce its reliance on construction, and instead pave the way for a digitalised age rather than pinning hopes on low-paid and unskilled work.