Abela: Cross-party convergence on President shows Labour can lead the way on national unity

Prime Minister Robert Abela says food prices on the decrease for second month running, showing government’s price stability measures work

Prime Minister Robert Abela with party supporters in Marsaskala on Sunday
Prime Minister Robert Abela with party supporters in Marsaskala on Sunday

Cross-party agreement to appoint Myriam Spiteri Debono as President shows the Labour Party can lead the way on national unity, Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Sunday.

“We showed the country can unite on matters of utmost importance for the country,” Abela told party supporters in Marsaskala.

He was speaking on the Constitutional changes enacted in 2020 which require a two-thirds parliamentary approval for the appointment of the President of the Republic. Before 2020 the country’s Prime Minister would choose who would be President and would only require a simple majority in parliament.

“I was never in doubt there would be convergence between the two parties, and today we have a humble, determined and genuine person as our President,” he said.

The PM said the spirit of national unity which surrounded Myriam Spiteri Debono’s swearing in on Thursday must remain in the coming months, referring to the European Parliament Elections next June.

“This does not mean we do not show the difference between the two parties. That is the essence of democracy, but we will continue to do so without descending into populism,” he said in a jibe at the Nationalist Party (PN). “We will outline the difference between those who are in politics for their personal gain and us who always prioritise the country’s interests, but we will do it with respect.”

He concluded by urging supporters to vote for every Labour candidate, saying at council, European and government level, are the only answer for progress to continue in the country.

Drop in food prices

Earlier, Abela said the Stabbiltà scheme, which saw major importers and supermarket chains, lowering the recommended retail price on 15 staple food items by 15%, is working, with food prices decreasing for the second consecutive month in March.

Quoting a Eurostat survey, the PM said it has left a positive effect, and shows government’s hands-on approach to the issue is working.

“Others [the PN] would have justified the increase by saying prices are on the rise in other countries as well, but we are not going to make those excuses,” he said.

He also spoke about a number of Budget measures which will see pensioners, parents of children who continue studying beyond compulsory level, in-work benefit and carers start receiving cheques.

“This is how we reward our communities,” he said. “All this despite the challenges we faced including the pandemic and an Opposition set on disrupting the country.”

Marsaskala pool given back to the community

The PM also announced the land of the former National Pool will be “given back to the Marsaskala community”.

He said government will keep its promise to change the local plans so the land in Zonqor remains undeveloped, and once passing parliamentary approval, the national pool title to will be handed back to the locality.

Daniel Attard: Legal proceedings against the PN to commence soon

Addressing the event before Robert Abela, Labour MEP candidate Daniel Attard announced legal proceedings initiated by him in January will commence soon.

He, together with fellow MEP candidate Maria Sara Vella Gafà, had filed a judicial protest in January urging the Nationalist Party to promptly submit its accounts.

In addition to this, they had emphasised the importance of the PN disclosing its donors to the Electoral Commission, as mandated by party financing laws.

Announcing this on Facebook, MEP Daniel Attard had said “no one is above the law.”