Labour aware of possible 'electoral restlessness'

Labour Party aware of possible discontent among voters and is addressing it, deputy leader Toni Abela says.

PL president Daniel Micallef, Labour deputy leader for party affairs Toni Abela, and executive secretary Lydia Abela
PL president Daniel Micallef, Labour deputy leader for party affairs Toni Abela, and executive secretary Lydia Abela

The Labour Party is conscious of the possibility that a substantial segment of its electorate refrains from casting its vote in the looming European elections, deputy leader Toni Abela said.

Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters in Hamrun, Abela highlighted the Labour government's achievements in its first year in office.

However, Abela denied that the intensive campaign being carried out to highlight these achievements was a precautionary measure to alleviate electoral discontent.

Instead, Abela said, the campaign is being undertaken to "remind people of the government's numerous achievements and dispel the opposition's continuous scaremongering."

Yet, Abela said that every party in government faced the possibility of "electoral restlessness" and Labour was "paying close attention" to such sentiments among its voter base.

Expressing his agreement, Labour Party president Daniel Micallef pointed out that the “biggest concern does stem from the people’s refusal to vote but the reason why they vote with their feet.”

He added that the Labour government was addressing this, and cited the creation of the grievances board, which Micallef said would “uphold the rights of anyone, irrespective of their political allegiances.”

Earlier this month, prime minister Joseph Muscat made an impassioned plea to Labour voters to vote in the European elections in May and help him fulfil his ambition to lead the party to an historic victory.

In a direct appeal to Labour voters who might refrain from voting to send a message to his government, Muscat had said "you can send a message in a different manner. If anything, PN leader Simon Busuttil would be the happiest person around if you stay at home. Think about it. Approach us, tell me about your cases, I listen, we are not arrogant."  

In previous European elections in Malta, The Nationalist Party suffered two heavy defeats while in power, with large swathes of disgruntled PN voters choosing to vote for Labour and the Greens or stay home.

In today’s press conference, Toni Abela and Daniel Micallef, together with the party's executive secretary Lydia Abela, listed a number of measures and initiatives introduced by the Labour government.

Among these achievements, the three Labour officials highlighted the 2014 Budget, the growth in GDP, the creation of jobs and the introduction of family friendly measures and the youth guarantee, which will “help women and young persons to enter employment or further their studies.”

Noting that the government had only delivered 30% of it’s electoral promises, Lydia Abela said that “there’s a lot more to come,” and the government was committed to delivering what it promised.