Party leaders promise not to concede each other any ‘political discounts’

Labour leader Joseph Muscat welcomes Simon Busuttil at Labour headquarters.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat welcomes PN leader Simon Busuttil at the Labour's headquarters
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat welcomes PN leader Simon Busuttil at the Labour's headquarters

Nationalist Party leader Simon Busuttil today met Prime Minister Joseph Muscat at the Labour Party headquarters, in a courtesy visit he paid just days since his election.

The two leaders were formerly MEPs elected in the 2004 elections, before giving up their careers to pursue leadership positions in their parties.

Busuttil will be sworn in as Opposition leader on Monday. "We will be a strong and constructive Opposition, loyal to our citizens, and working in the spirit of the Constitution to scrutinise the work of the government," Busuttil said.

Busuttil joked that lasting friendship also came with clear terms of engagement between the two sides, as Muscat replied that he was sure not to expect any "political discount" from his new adversary.

While Busuttil congratulated Muscat on having become Prime Minister, Muscat welcomed the fact that the courtesy visit had taken place quickly since Busuttil's election. "I know there will be issues upon which we don't agree, but we will work together, much as we did within the European Parliament."

Busuttil told MaltaToday that his decision to have a new deputy leader for party affairs was inspired by the need to have an MP who can liaise with the party, and to share the burden of the party's operations with the secretary-general. "In Opposition we have a lot of work to rebuild the party, so we are widening the leadership. The post will be open to both MPs and non-MPs," Busuttil said.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat would not disclose anything from discussions he held with Busuttil on any executive government appointments for Opposition MPs, which Muscat had initally floated upon his election.

Muscat made sure to deliver home the message that he believed in a government and opposition that worked together despite conflicting views that may arise.

He also refrained from expressing his views on previous comments made by Busuttil that many of the Labour government appointments had been given to persons who had publicly endorsed the PL during the general election campaign.

Just a few minutes after Busuttil was confirmed leader of the Nationalist Party, the PL issued a statement expressing its wish to see the PN doing away with the politics of "them and us".

Asked to comment, Busuttil had accused the Labour government of being the one who had embarked on such a road with the appointments given to the PL affiliates.

Refusing to comment when asked by MaltaToday, the Prime Minister said journalists should give Busuttil and himself their "honeymoon period" - given that this had been their first formal meeting.

"I am sure that we can work together and I look forward to see both sides working in the national interest," Muscat said.

Emmanuel Mallia
They are miles apart in their political ideology !! One is futuristic, and the other, still stuck in the past !
@ karm grima, jekk ghandek xi provi ghaddijhom lil Maltatoday u cert li jghatuk sodiafazzjon. Jew qed titfa t-tajn kif gie gie. tinsiex li min jitfa t-tajn icappas idu. Issa ghamel kif ghidlek u mur ghand Maltatoday.
Dear politicians we don't elect you to have honeymoon periods - we elect you because you said you will work for us - coffee break - after!
Jekk ma hux se ittieh "no political discounts" lil Jos.Muscat, ghidlu Simon biex ma jhallix lil Dr. Alfred Sant johrog ghal MEP is-sena d-diehla ghax dan Sant kien li seraq l-Inkjesta Muscat Azzoppardi, dik li kixfet kif sar il-framw-up ta' missieri Karm Grima, u ghalhekk fl-opinjoni tieghu hu kriminal. Dr. Muscat ukoll ghid lil Simon li l-irjus tal-PN kienu jafu bl-irvellijiet tal-15/10/1979 u ma ghamlu xejn, anzi hallewhom biex jidhru ta' Mintoff huma koroh u l-PN jibbustjaw personalita' taghhom u jitilghu fil-gvern. Nahseb li hemm ftiehim biex ma tikxfux l-imghoddi tat-tnejn u thallu lilna, il-familjari ta' Karm Grima, inbatu bl-ingustizzja li qlajtu fuq missierna, GHAJB ghat-tnejn li intom.