Updated | PN leaders to be elected by all paying members

Nationalist Party widens future leadership votes to all party members as it launches statute revision process.

Future PN leadership contests will involve the party's grassroots.
Future PN leadership contests will involve the party's grassroots.

Future PN leadership elections will no longer be restricted to party councillors, but all card carrying members will be eligible to vote for their leaders if proposed amendments to its statute are approved.

The party today launched the second phase of a consultation process on the revision of its statute.

During a seminar held for the PN's executive council today, the head of the internal commission for the revision of the party's statute and structures, Francis Zammit Dimech presented a draft set of amendments.

In a brief message to the executive, PN leader Simon Busuttil underlined the party's drive to democratise and open up its structures, adding "the PN is sending a clear signal that it intends to return to being the people's party."

One of the key amendments proposes the election of PN leaders and deputy leaders by all party members following the creation of a General Convention which would shape and discuss the party's policies. The convention would include all paying party members and "serve as a forum in which members of the public, civil society and social partners are invited to participate in."

To date, PN leaders are elected by the 900 or so party councillors which include MPs, candidates, party officials and representatives of local committees, which often tend to be handpicked by the dominant faction within the party.

Following the catastrophic electoral defeat in March, the party's grassroots pinpointed the marginalisation of activists from the party's inner circles and the lack of new blood as one of the main reasons for the party's demise.

In a clear attempt to address the democratic deficit within its structures, the PN is planning to open up its doors to increase female and youth participation. The proposed amendments include changes to the composition of the executive council, which would be made up of nine women and nine men.

Moreover, the amendments to the statute also propose the inclusion of more women and young people in the party's sectional committees, which would in turn shake up the composition of the General Council.

The committee led by Zammit Dimech also proposed the creation of new organs to "make the party more representative and enhance the party's inclusiveness in its structures and policy making."

The new organs proposed include a movement for equal opportunities, a forum for professionals, a business forum, a college for councilors, a college for former MPs, a Gozo regional committee, a commission for the selection of candidates and a policy forum.

The proposals presented today will be discussed further by the party and will be voted upon by the General Council set to convene at the beginning of next year.

In reaction, the Labour Party said that the proposed changes to the PN structures came five years too late, as it underlined the organisational shake-up which Labour underwent upon the election of Joseph Muscat as leader in 2009.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Labour noted that apart from changing its statute to allow members to elect its leader in 2009, it went one step further by allowing members to draft and approve the electoral manifesto.

Pointing out that the PN's proposed changes were similar to those it implemented over the past years, Labour said that after copying Labour's leadership structure by introducing a second deputy leader, "the next step now was for the PN to appoint a CEO."

Insisting that the PN was moving backwards instead of forward, Labour said "it is useless to change structures if the PN leadership's mentality does not change. The extreme factions still dictate over Simon Busuttil who neither has a vision nor control over the PN".

he he he tghamlu xtghamlu il PN xorta jiba partit ta l-ghanqbud fl imhuhh ...immexxi min imenherkhom mil knisja u biex tpaxxu il knisja PARTIT FUNDAMENTALIST .Dan qed tghamlu biss biex tigbru ftit flus ghal partit (bicca) fallut li ghandkhom PS ara sur XMUN igijelx il card holders jivvutaw ha tara kemm iriduk :) ghax ghandek xorti hemm 40 fil mijja tal nazzjonalisti li kuntenti bik .Fil fatt hafna jarawk bhala l-ahhar haga li wehhelhom Gonzi.
Eddie Privitera, x'ghandu x'jaqsam dak li ktibt ma' dak li hemm fl-artikolu
I tend to agree with your concluding para. However, I must praise those that came up with these ideas to empower the main body of what constitutes a political party, its members. Well done. Let's hope that the reality will resemble the proposals.
Mhux diga sar zball kbir meta l-ex-prim ministru Eddie Fenech Adami sar President ? Iridu li jerga jirrepeti ruhu l-istess zball ?