PN expects mayorships in Birkirkara and Mellieha - Bernard Grech

Opposition leader Bernard Grech says the PN won strong relative majorities in Birkirkara and Mellieha and expects this to be respected in vote on mayors • PN government will maintain energy support, cut waste and abuse

PN leader Bernard Grech was interviewed on Net TV by TVM journalist Mario Xuereb (Photo: PN)
PN leader Bernard Grech was interviewed on Net TV by TVM journalist Mario Xuereb (Photo: PN)

The Nationalist Party expects to hold the mayorships in Birkirkara and Mellieħa, Bernard Grech said on Sunday, insisting the people’s will must be respected.
The PN leader said the situation in both localities was different from that in Ħaż-Żebbuġ, where both major parties support independent candidate Steve Zammit Lupi for mayor.

“In Birkirkara and Mellieħa the PN has a strong relative majority unlike Ħaż-Żebbuġ where the independent candidate received strong support… We cannot expect somebody with a minority of votes to determine the outcome,” Grech said when asked about the PN’s expectations during an interview on Net TV carried out by TVM journalist Mario Xuereb.

Birkirkara and Mellieha came out with hung councils after local elections on 8 June.

In Birkirkara, the PN and PL each won six seats with an independent candidate holding the balance of power. The PN won a relative majority of 47.5% against the PL’s 41.7%. Independent candidate Kaylocke Buhagiar received 7.9% of the vote and was elected councillor, whereas ADPD’s candidate received 2% of the vote and was not elected.

A similar situation developed in Mellieħa where the PN and PL each elected four councillors with independent candidate Matthew Borg Cuschieri holding the balance of power. In Mellieħa, the PN won a relative majority of 49.1% against the PL’s 41.4%, while the independent vote hit 8.8%.

In Ħaż-Żebbuġ three independent candidates received 31.9% of the vote and elected two councillors – incumbent Steve Zammit Lupi and his mother Lilibeth. Following an agreement, Steve will be the locality’s mayor, while the PL’s highest scoring councillor will occupy the post of deputy mayor.

“The clear will of the people in Birkirkara and Mellieħa should be respected,” Grech insisted on Sunday.

Asked about the PN’s reaction to calls for a change in the electoral system and the introduction of a national threshold, Grech said this was an electoral pledge in the last election and it will be retained in the forthcoming general election.

“Whoever would like to see electoral reforms must support the PN so that this can be done,” he said.

READ ALSO: Former Labour MEP Cyrus Engerer fronts Kollettiv petition for electoral reform

Energy support

Looking evidently more relaxed following the results of the European and local elections, which saw the PN elect three MEPs, flip several key councils and drastically cut the gap with the PL, Grech said the party had already embarked on an exercise to identify suitable candidates for the next general election.

He insisted a future PN government will continue to shield people from energy inflation and cut down on abuse and waste of public finances.

He pledged that a future PN government will have fewer people of trust, who will be engaged solely for their competence and not with the same exorbitant wages being paid today.

“Under a PN government there will be no waste and theft of people’s money,” he reiterated, adding the Labour government was extravagant with people close to it but stingy with educators, nurses, social workers and other workers with important functions.

Why Police Commissioner must go

On the PN’s call not to have Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa’s term renewed, Grech said this was based on the police chief’s inability to take action against powerful people.

“We cannot have a police commissioner who is more interested in fulfilling the wishes of those in power rather than taking action without fear or favour,” Grech said, accusing Gafa of being scared to charge powerful people.

He called for consultation to take place for a suitable replacement once Gafa’s term is up.